At 31st March 1968, about two thirds of the national debt consisted of government and government guaranteed stocks, and the rest Treasury bills and non-marketable debt in roughly equal proportions. More than a quarter of the entire debt was in U.K. official hands. In the financial year 1967/68 the debt increased by £1,726 million (5.4%) to £33,647 million. The rise was mainly in Treasury bills held by overseas residents and included the sterling counterpart of central bank assistance. But there was also a rise in stocks, in particular those held by "other financial institutions", partly because of the issue of steel compensation stock, The average life of dated gilt-edged stocks in market hands is at present somewhat longer than that of similar debt in most other major industrialised countries. While the number of accounts on the Bank of England stock registers is much the same as thirty years ago, the average stockholding is considerably larger.