Just what are we paying for?

I received a very interesting document in the mail today. From HMRC, it broke down not just how my Tax and NI contributions were calculated and collected, but also how the money was spent

The expenditure was broken down into fifteen different sections, and the numbers themselves make for interesting reading. As a percentage of my overall tax bill, it breaks down as follows:

Welfare 25%
Health 19%
Education 13%
State Pensions 12%
National Debt Interest 7%
Defence 5%
Criminal Justice 4%
Transport 3%
Business and Industry 3%
Government Administration 2%
Culture 2%
Environment 2%
Housing and Utilities 2%
Overseas Aid 1%
EU Budget 1%

Let’s look at this in a little more detail.

I currently pay over a third of my tax and NI towards Welfare and State Pensions, supporting those who do not, cannot – or will not – work. I have no issues whatsoever with providing the needed funds for those that need the help of the state. However, given the reports we see every day, I’d like to see some movement towards preventing people from screwing the system for their benefit and my loss – whether these people are benefit cheats or benefit tourists.

I currently pay more towards maintaining the status quo of our accumulated national debt than I do for defence. Or for Criminal Justice. Or for Transport or Industry. Or, for that matter, for Culture, Sport, the Environment, Housing and Utilities, Overseas Aid AND the EU membership combined. That shows the mess that the previous administration left us in in 2010, and why I fear a return to left-wing political leaders.

Overseas aid, that big issue for bigots, accounted for just one percent of my tax. Without rounding the numbers, membership of the EU cost even less. Despite what Nigel Farage and his cronies would have us believe, the EU isn’t the problem. Johnny Foreigner isn’t the problem.

WE are the problem. We fail to engage in the political process, keeping ourselves ignorant by choice or lethargy so that when an important choice comes up – such as EU membership, local or national elections, etc. – we allow ourselves to be swayed by whoever has the best publicist and soundbytes.

We have a couple of months until we get the chance to have our say about the direction and future of our country, when the nation goes to the polls on May 7th.

Whatever colour you pin your allegiance to – or even if you decide to opt out and abstain – please take time to get a broad understanding of what each party says on the above issues, and make it an informed choice. Don’t become disengaged with the important issues that will affect us all over the next five years.  Whatever you do, make sure you understand why

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