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)2009-102010-11
Benefits and Pensions195.5202.6
Health99.9104
Education66.469.2
Debt interest27.242.9
Defence38.736.7
Local government30.130.8
Scotland25.426.1
Law and Order19.619.6
Wales13.614
Northern Ireland9.69.9
EU contributions5.67.9
Transport6.46.4
International aid5.56.2
Other departments127.9125.4
Total government spending671.4701.7

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.

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