Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Quantifying government waste

After reading this rant, via Coffeehouse, about the hundreds of millions of pounds wasted recently by the government.
It's the casual, off-hand, 'whoops was that another hundred million?' attitude from government which makes it most offensive and increasingly hard to take.

Whoops, there goes more of your money in pension over payments to public sector workers. Estimates suggest that, indeed, another £100m was misplaced which the government will write off.

Whoops, there goes another £81m on a department of transport computer which was supposed to save money but malfunctioned, spewing out instructions in German and cancelling staff holidays.

It would be neat if these figures could be quantified as 'taxpayer hours', the number of hours the guy on the street would have to work pay tax to pay for these cockup. So when the incompetnt civil servant sees the figure, they can easily visualise people having to work to pay for nothing.

Hmm, median wage is £470ish per week or £12ish per hour, excuse the vagueness, I'm just going for the correct order of magnitude rather than the accuracy.
Government takes about 41% in tax*, so that's £4.80 per hour.

So, with the two wastey things up above, the pensions cockup cost 21,000,000 taxpayer hours and the transport computer cost 17,000,000 taxpayer hours.

Hmph, that's still a little mind boggling. How about 10,000 taxpayer years and 8,000 taxpayer years respectively.


*If there's a more correct figure for how much on average the government/powers that be take in income tax, VAT, council tax, etc, I can't find it.

No comments:

Post a Comment