Britain's Growing Debt Could Result in Sale of Land to Foreign States

  • Seven million Brits expect the UK will be required to sell off part of its sovereign territory to reduce national debt in the future
  • The majority of Brits expect unsustainable levels of national debt will force a break-up of the union between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
  • A new novel , Sekabo, out today explores how these predictions may play out in the future

Embargoed until 00:01 30th September: With recent figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealing that Britain’s debt mountain is still mounting at speed, a  new future-gazing study out today reveals more than seven million Brits believe the government may have to sell off part of the UK to reduce the country’s national debt in the future.

According to the survey of 1,000 British adults, commissioned to test the reality of themes explored in a new novel (‘Sekabo’) set in 2097, a surprising 14 per cent believe the UK may be forced to sell off, or lease, parts of the UK to global superpowers, such as China, if the UK’s national debt of £1.4 trillion continues to grow. 

Interestingly, of the 14 per cent of respondents that said selling parts of the UK could become a reality, 70 per cent were aged 18-35.

Despite the recent Scottish independence referendum swinging in favour of the union, the majority (51 per cent) of respondents believe England, Northern Ireland and Scotland will divide if national debt isn’t brought under control.

The research was undertaken to explore the themes of a new novel, ‘Sekabo’, in which a high-tech Hong Kong style enclave encompassing Scarborough and the North York Moors is ruled by China as part of an English government debt repayment deal in 2047. While elsewhere national debt and civil unrest in the wider UK has given birth to a new sovereign entity, The Celtic Fringe Federation, comprising Scotland, Wales, Ireland and Cornwall and leaving England in social and economic ruin.

Award-winning film maker, producer, novelist and author of Sekabo, Richard Woolley, says: “After decades of fixating on our free-market economy, focussing on individual prosperity and an all but evaporated sense of community, it’s unsurprising so many Brits believe that not only will the UK be forced to trade in sovereign land to reduce national debt, but also that the British union will break up.

“We are all very aware of, and are often very opinionated about, the decisions made by government today, but what’s really interesting is when people are forced to step that little bit further into the future and think about what could well become a reality.

“Sekabo is based on an eventuality that could really happen, even before 2047. Just last week Surrey’s prestigious Wentworth Golf Club was bought by a Beijing firm, becoming the latest British prize to be added to Beijing’s expanding trophy cabinet – the UK  could pretty swiftly move from selling property and golf clubs, to selling cities and counties.”


While Sekabo is a fictional reality, it may hold many of the answers needed to solve the major social, environmental and economic issues of the day, including:

  1. The wealth gap – in Sekabo a clause in the new enclave's written constitution sets maximum wealth gap at 5 to 1: max assets/income 250,000, min 50,000 or multiples thereof.  Responsibility and achievement is still rewarded, but greed outlawed. This is not killjoy communism, but fair shares for all on the basis of contribution.
  2. Housing shortage - community-owned housing for all. All people have a right to a dwelling commensurate with income/asset group (low, middle or high). Houses may be passed on to family members by generation, but individuals do not own their own house and the value is measured in terms of providing a home rather than monetary profit.


  1. Climate change – all transport is powered by solar/ tidal energy.  Chinese build a tidal barrier right around the Yorkshire coast. They build solar expressways where 'cars' (known as 'suntraps') can lock into a central grid and be driven by remote control. There is also a network of ‘pedestralators’ - walkways with three lanes running at different speeds, mostly underground and out of sight.


  1. Sexual equality – pornography in Sekabo is banned and replaced by 'live' Relief Houses.  These centres also hold educative sessions for young people to help them understand the personal nature of sexual interaction and relate physical attraction to emotion.


  1. Resurrection – Cryonics (science of freezing a body at point of death and unfreezing later) is commonplace in 2097, as are e-spex:  interactive 3D eye glasses that give users access to information, images, sound and virtual media in hologram form in a more comprehensive and integrated -with-the-real -world manner than today’s Google Glass.


To find out more about Sekabo, the issues explored in the novel – and order a copy – please visit




Hardback, 320 pages
Published: 30 September 2014
ISBN: 978 1 78308 219 3
Publisher listing:

For more information please contact Lisa Malyon or Alana Caldwell on 0203 551 3954 or





Notes to editor

  • A Onepoll survey of 1000 UK adults was undertaken from 12-15th September 2014


  • Sekabo the eBook will be available for purchase via download on 30th October 2014. Retail price of £5.99 will be discounted to £2.99 for the first 30 days.


  • For live updates on the book follow the Sekabo Twitter page @sekabo_2097 or Facebook page SEKABO by Richard Woolley.
  • Meet the characters at


  • Richard Woolley wrote and directed several films for cinema and TV including, Telling Tales (1980), Brothers and Sisters (1981) and Girl from the South (1988).


  • In 2011 the British Film Institute issued a box set of Richard Woolley’s films entitled An Unflinching Eye.


  • Woolley has published three novels including the whodunit Sad-eyed Lady of the Lowlands.


  • Woolley has been Director of the Dutch Film Academy, founding Dean of Film and TV at the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts, inaugural holder of the Greg Dyke Chair of Film & Television at the University of York and, most recently, Associate Dean of the Faculty of Performance, Media & English at Birmingham City University.


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