Saturday, 26 March 2011
Many a mickle makes a muckle
Amidst the plethora of commentary about the budget, one little snippet of information caught Don’t Call Me Dave’s attention. The new budget box carried by Chancellor George Osborne was commissioned by the National Archives for a mere £4,000. Four grand for a briefcase!!
At a time when public spending has to be drastically cut in order to reduce the budget deficit, nothing epitomises the culture of state profligacy better than this.
In the grand scheme of things, £4,000 might seem a trivial amount. After all, public expenditure is actually set to rise to £744 billion in 2015. (Cuts? What cuts?) But for many - if not most - families in this country, £4,000 would make a significant difference to them.
This year, we will be paying £50 billion in interest alone on the national debt. That works out at £1,585.49 per second - a truly staggering sum which the nation ignores at its peril.
Politicians keep telling us that we’re all in this together, but they clearly have no concept of the value of money. Barnet council spent £14,000 buying 5 flat screen television sets for chief officers. That’s the equivalent of the full annual council tax bill for 14 band D households in the Borough.
The real problem is that the people who make these spending decisions are not spending their own money, and they simply do not care whether something is even necessary, let alone represents good value. It is very easy to ignore all these relatively small sums of public spending as being too irrelevant to worry about, but the old adage “watch the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves” applies as much to the state as it does to the majority of the population who live in the real world. Unless this country starts living within its means, we are going to go the same way as Greece, Ireland and now Portugal.