Public spending in the UK today

In 2009-10 the Government spent £671.4 billion of our money, despite tax revenues of only £496.1 billion. That's the problem, right there. Under current spending plans, the national debt will top 79% of GDP by 2014. The last time we borrowed this much money the freedom of the entire world was at stake in World War Two. What on earth are we spending it on today? Here's the answer, in billions of pounds:

(£ billions) 2009-10 2010-11
Benefits and Pensions 195.5 202.6
Health 99.9 104
Education 66.4 69.2
Debt interest 27.2 42.9
Defence 38.7 36.7
Local government 30.1 30.8
Scotland 25.4 26.1
Law and Order 19.6 19.6
Wales 13.6 14
Northern Ireland 9.6 9.9
EU contributions 5.6 7.9
Transport 6.4 6.4
International aid 5.5 6.2
Other departments 127.9 125.4
Total government spending 671.4 701.7

The public finances are dominated by the welfare state, which will cost the UK some £202.6 billion to maintain this year. The welfare budget includes pensions and tax credits, plus unemployment, sickness, housing, council tax, child support and other benefits. In 2010-11, interest payments on the national debt will be the fourth biggest line in the budget, reaching £42.9 billion.

When in opposition, Gordon Brown used to call escalating social security and debt interest payments the costs of failure. In his own terms, we're now failing on a scale never seen before.

BulletNext: "Does it matter how government spends the money?"

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