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The Revenge of Winston Smith

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Fascinating figures

Posted by Tim on Saturday, June 25, 2005 | Permalink

Apparently, the British Royal Family cost the taxpayer just under £37 000 000 last year. This works out as £0.61 from each person. While I am no big fan of the royals, and could probably think of better things to spend £37m on, I suppose I can't really complain about paying 61p a year. Perhaps these figures will give the people who complain about the amount teenage single mothers get in benefits something to think about (see my last post on this).

When I was unemployed some years ago a friend of mine complained that, as the amount of benefit I received was about the same amount as the tax he was paying, he was in effect paying my benefit (he didn't seem to realise that if he was paying my benefit someone else must have been paying his share of all the other stuff tax goes on. He was also being rather a hypocrite as he had lived in my flat for free for several months previously when he himself was out of work).

I was unemployed again recently. I'd guess that the benefits I received - jobseeker's allowance, child tax credits and housing benefit - would have added up to around £12000 over a year (a reasonable amount to live on, provided you don't have any major debts). Using the figures above regarding the royal family, I worked out that this £12000 I would have received would have cost each taxpayer £0.00019783. This means that I would have had to be receiving these benefits for over fifty years for my friend to have given my a penny!

Kind of puts things into perspective, don't you think?