This year the government will spend £11,763 per person, or £40,958 for every family in the UK. The Taxpayers Alliance have been going through the government figures and bringing out some of the highlights. Amidst all the debate about rates of change in financial provision, arguments about whether a cash increase is still a real cut, and an overlay of debate about austerity, we often lose sight of just how much money and resource the public sector commands.
Each one of us has an average state debt of £24,444 and a share of £22,754 in the public sector pension liabilities. This does not of course include future state pension payments, which will fall to be paid for from future tax revenues. Total spending this year does include this year’s pension payments as they are met on a pay as you go basis.
England receives less spending per head than the other three devolved countries and provinces in the Union. (2014-15 figures, two years earlier than the other figures). The lowest spending is in South East England at £7756 per person. That is 69.8% of the Northern Ireland figure, 74.7% of the Scottish figure and 78.3% of the Welsh figure. No English region gets as much as Wales, which in turn gets less than Scotland.
The largest individual budgets within the totals are welfare and the NHS, which between them make up half the total spend.
It reminds us, as the TPA wishes to do, that a great deal of progress can be made by spending the money more wisely and by lifting productivity in the public sector as part of the campaign to improve productivity generally in the economy. It also reminds us that more can and will be done to get more people into work and into better paid jobs, to whittle away the need for welfare reliance.