Rarely is a letter from the tax man good news. Usually it involves them telling you how you owe them money. It turns out the government is using HMRC to distribute letters showing how your taxes are spent. If we convert the absolute numbers to percentages then we can see how the budget is divided up.
Bloody hell, I don’t know what this is, but it certainly doesn’t look like economic conservatism. Let’s take a look, section by section, and see if we can’t identify some waste.
Welfare 25.3%: Over a quarter of our taxes goes to the welfare state. Here’s a prime target for some budget cuts. As much is spent on welfare as on Education and the state pension combined. It shouldn’t be this way, the welfare system should be there to stop people dying of starvation on the street, and that’s it. To spend a quarter of our tax receipts on it is obscene.
Healthcare 19.9%: Again, why are we spending so much on a system that is fundamentally broken? The government shouldn’t be employing doctors and nurses, instead we should scrap the NHS. A better model is one where doctors operate privately, but treatment is paid for at set rates by a government-funded insurer.
State pensions 12.8%: That’s an eighth of tax revenues. I have no problem with paying this for the state pension, it is what it is. My question would be this: Given the changes in the demographics of the UK that we know are coming, how will this be sustainable? I suspect the answer that nobody dares to admit is that it’s not. One day, and hopefully soon, we’ll have to set a cut off, at which point, nobody born after that day will receive a state pension.
Education 12.5%: Here’s an area that could do with some of the money that we’ll cut from the welfare budget. Let’s have more teachers, in more schools, delivering higher quality education. As part of this, bring back selective grammar schools across the country so that the brightest pupils can have access to the best teaching available.
Defence 5.4%: Wait, is that a typo? Only 5.4%? This is pathetic. Double the budget, hire more soldiers, renew Trident, and as for the moron that decided not to make the new class of aircraft carriers nuclear powered in order to save some money – shoot them.
National Debt Interest 5%: If ever there was a better illustration of the stupidity of the modern budget, this is it. Borrowing additional money to spend on a budget that we cannot afford, and then paying 5% interest to fund that spending. How about not borrowing the money in the first place, and being able to spend the interest money on something instead?
Public Order and Safety 4.4%: Again, why is this so low? Use some of the money we saved elsewhere to hire a lot more police officers, and build a load of new prisons. Then we’ll have somewhere to stick people that want to cause trouble as a result of the other cuts.
Transport 3%: Is this enough, I don’t know. I suspect that transport is well enough funded, we just need to get on and do stuff. Runways, build two at Heathrow, AND two at Gatwick. HS2 and Crossrail 2 – JFDI! Once we stop wasting money trying to placate everybody, we can use it to fill in potholes instead.
Business and Industry 2.7%: Whatever.
Government Administration 2%: I’m sure there’s lots of scope for cutting waste in this budget line. Then we can use the money to refurbish the Palace of Westminster before it falls down.
Culture 1.8%: Here’s a target for some extra cash. Free museums and the like are good, let’s keep it that way.
Environment 1.7%: Yawn.
Housing and Utilities 1.6%: Next.
Overseas Aid 1.3%: I think I’ve just found a way to cut 1.3% from our tax bill.
EU Budget Contribution 0.7%: Unless David Cameron can convince us otherwise, this could very well be going to 0% in the near future.