Saturday, May 20, 2006
Paying For The North
As today's Times reminds us, we Southerners pay through the nose to support most points North of Watford:
"In the North East in 2004-05, the Government shelled out £7,167 per person for public services; in the South East it was £5,624. With the exception of London, spending is higher per person in the North on public order, housing, health, enterprise and development, employment policies and education.
These figures exclude benefits and pensions. Analysis by the Centre for Economics and Business Research, an independent consultancy, shows that when you include these, as well as debt, defence and EU transactions apportioned per region, public spending as a percentage of regional GDP is a whopping 58.7 per cent in the North East — that is nearly three fifths of the local economy — but 32.6 per cent in the South East and 34 per cent in London."
Pretty staggering. But even that leaves out of account the huge regional inequity in the tax burden. Because incomes are higher in the South East, taxes are also much higher. And before you say that's quite right, remember the cost of living- especially housing- is also much higher.
The last time I did some proper number crunching on this, I found that- taking account of both the lower spending and higher taxes- roughly 10% of the South East's income is transferred right out of the region to fund the rest of the UK. The South East would be much better off declaring independence.
With updated regional spending stats now available, it's time to wrap another towel round my head and update the calculations.
Posted by Mike D at 5:21 pm