UK owe to US 578 bn and UK due from US 834 bn
UK owe to France 209 bn and UK due from France 227 bn
UK owe to Spain 316 bn and UK due from Spain 74 bn
UK owe to Ireland 113 bn and UK due from Ireland 104 bn
UK owe to Japan 122 bn and UK due from Japan 101 bn
UK owe to Germany 379 bn and UK due from Germany 141 bn
Football teams have a tried and tested method of moving huge amounts of money between themselves in the transfer market. Put simply, Team A buys Smith from Team B for 10m paying 2m a year for 5 years. After 3 years, they sell Smith to Team C for 15m. Team A have already paid Team B 6m so they request Team C to pay them 11m and for Team C take over the 2m payments per year to team B, therefore paying off their remaining 4m. All three teams pay and receive what they are due and the books balance.
In the economic world, everybody owes, and is owed, money by each other. For example the UK owe France 209 bn, but then France owe us 227 bn. Why can't Cameron phone Sarkozy and suggest he take off the 209 bn we owe them from the 227 bn they owe us and then you just pay us the remaining 18 bn.
Then he can telephone Obama and say you owe us 834 bn, we owe you 578 bn, so let's just cancel out each others debt and you then just owe us 256 bn.
If all the countries of the World got on the phone to each other and worked out who owes who in this way then most of the countries deficits could be slashed. If we then juggled things around like in the football transfer scenario above so after cancelling each others debts, any outstanding balance is paid to another on behalf of someone else, we would clear up this whole mess or at the very least, drastically reduce the amount of debt held by each other.
Seems very simple to me which probably means there is a huge hole in my thinking but with a growing number of countries on the verge of going bankrupt, creditor nations are facing receiving next to nothing anyway so at least this way they will get what they are due.
It seems crazy that we are demanding someone like Japan pays us the 122 bn they owe us while Japan are demanding that we pay them the 101 bn we owe them with all the massive interest payment involved to both countries when we can just agree to them owing us the 21 bn difference instead.