Make Poverty History

Saturday, March 03, 2018

Where does it all go?

I'm not talking about my money - the money that is paid into the bank by my employer and pension providers - I'm talking about the portion of my money that I don't get - my contribution to the wider society.  On my latest statement from HMRC, on the back page is a breakdown of the spending which totaled up my contributions and split them out, so that I know how much was spent on the various categories.  They even provided a nice graphic.
For those who prefer numbers, here are the percentages I calculated from the numbers that HMRC provided.

Welfare 24.30
Health 20.30
State Pensions 12.90
Education 12.30
National debt interest 5.50
Defence 5.20
Public order and safety 4.20
Transport 4.20
Business and industry 2.50
Government administration 2.10
Culture eg sports, libraries, museums 1.60
Environment 1.60
Housing and utilities eg street lights 1.50
Overseas aid 1.10
UK contribution to the EU budget 0.70
Total 100.01
I'm not sure what prompted this - maybe it was #brexit, but the numbers are revealing.  Here's the things that stand out for me:
  1. We spend more servicing debt than we do on defense.  This is a good reason to get the debt down so there is less interest to pay.  Doing that would provide more (but only a little) for Health and Welfare.
  2. Overseas aid is trivial, so cancelling that, as so many would like to do doesn't really change anything for us, but leaves many of the least well-of in the world in and even worse position.
  3. Housing and utilities eg street lights: I thought that street lights were financed by County Councils, so I'm not sure what this is all about.
  4. The EU contribution is the lowest item. If this is meant to influence my thinking on #brexit, its too late.

Of course there are some questions that need to be answered, for example, is the VAT that I pay spent in the same proportions? I'm assuming that everything they get goes into a big pot and is spent as they wish.  My wish is that were not the case, I'd like to see a line on my payslip that let me know how much I'm contributing to Health and Welfare, that would help in my understanding of how to fund the NHS.


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