27.02.08, Are we getting value for money? Part 1

On the 13th or February the Daily Telegraph had a list of how taxpayers money is spent. The total came to 589 billion, and they were as follows, Social Protection at 159bn, Health 105bn, Education 78bn, Other Expenditure unspecified 62bn, Public Order And Safety 33bn, Defence 32bn, National Debt Interest 31bn, Personal Social Services 26bn, Housing And Environment 22bn, Industry, Agriculture, Employment And Training, 21bn, Transport 20bn.

I was surprised that Social Protection, which I then assumed meant the police, CCTV, and presumably the prisons, until I found that we were spending 33bn on public order and safety. As defence gets 32bn, I couldn’t interpret what this large sum, more than a quarter of the total budget is being spent on as well as 62bn unspecified. When you see the health service which is only receiving 105bn and consider the size of it, the number of people working in it, and the complexity and technicality of what they do, it can give one pause for thought. When I went to the Internet and looked for the interpretation of Social Protection, the information that was available stretched to almost 300,000 items, but when I looked at Social Protection per se, my personal interpretation was that it is basically overseas aid. I was never aware that our overseas responsibilities extended to a quarter of our budget, especially when transport only receives the smallest amount, 20bn.

I took exception to the paucity of funding for transport, at a time when the government is telling us to turn off neon power indicators to save the world. The lamentable lack of public transport, and the lower portion of our national funding devoted to it, shows an illogicality in the approach to global warming, when so many cars are daily used along suitable public transport routes. I have firmly believed for years that the general public would not object to funding a cheap and efficient public transport system. The reduction in traffic at peak periods, and stress to the individual not worrying about parking, or driving in heavy traffic, would not only help the global warming problem, it would reduce stress in us all, young and old. There will of course be a reduction in the taxation which is gathered from personal transport.

I have not done sufficient research to comment on whether this vast sum for overseas aid is warranted as our responsibility, or if it is common in other countries to the same degree, and indeed if it is solely for overseas aid and the care of migrants. To my untutored eye, 159bn or 27% of our income, our largest expense, set against the other causes seems excessive, especially when you consider that we are paying 31bn to cover the interest on our national debt, (not our internal debt). The National Debt could currently be building, even now and even more, in the light of all the new demands on our Exchequer which are put forward daily.

Categorized as General

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