Tuesday, 1 August 2017

The basic unit of government accounting...

From City AM:

The bank levy and bank surcharge, both introduced by Tory former chancellor George Osborne, raised nearly £17bn in the six years up to 2016-17 (enough to fund the starting salaries of around 60,000 nurses and 60,000 police officers for each of those years).

I ought to do more posts on this, people use this tiresome analogy all the time.

The calculation looks about right. £3 billion a year ÷ 120,000 nurses/coppers = £25,000, but what it actually highlights is the dwindingly small amount of money which the UK government actually spends on police and nurse's salaries (about half a million in total @ £30,000 each = £18 bn a year, less than 3% of total government spending.

It'd be much more fun if they left the poor old nurses and coppers alone and compared receipts from a randomly selected tax like the bank levy/bank surcharge with a less wholesome spending line, for example "enough to fund the UK's annual subsidies to agricultural landowners like James Dyson",  "enough to buy over a hundred F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters" or "enough to pay for 100 miles of high speed railway".


Shiney said...


Its like the space thing

'an area the size of Wales....'

Mark Wadsworth said...

Sh, see also 'royal Albert hall' or 'olympic sized swimming pool' as units of volume.

Frank said...


How about: enough money to cover an area the size of Wales in bull manure? :-)