Paul Waugh from Politics Home has just tweeted the following:
Osborne says Royals cost us 51p per person per year.
I have no doubt that George Osborne's figures are accurate for the direct cost of the Royals*.
But isn't it interesting how when Osborne is talking about something that he wants to spend money on (and you can't get much more Royalist than true blue Tories like our beloved Chancellor) it's presented in a way that tries to make it look miniscule? Almost as if it would be churlish to disagree that the Royals are worth every darn penny and anyway it's less than the cost of a mars bar don't you know and didn't she look radiant on the wedding day and sure the Duke occasionally says the wrong thing but he's been such a good consort for her etc. etc. etc.?
For example, I don't remember the (made up) figures for the cost of switching to AV being presented by the Chancellor in the format of cost per person per year (the real figures for this would have been less than 51p per person per year). Oh no, it was how many sick babies will suffer and how many soldiers will (implicitly) die because of lack of the millions that were supposedly going to be spent.
What what does this figure of 51p per person per year actually mean? Well the figures have just been released for the UK population last year. It was 62,262,000 (see here). I am assuming he is using the most up to date figures so this would be a total of £31,753,620. Or if you want to look at it another way, and a way that politicians like Osborne usually love to do it is approximately 6 new primary schools every year at a cost of just over £5m per school (source).
But the currency politicians simply adore using regarding public spending is nurses. How many extra nurses could we employ each year for the cost of the Royal family? Well according to salarytrack.co.uk the current average salary for a nurse in the UK is £26,123 per year. Let's add on 13.8% for employers' NI and that gives us a total salary cost of £29,728. So we could get around 1068 extra nurses each year. Imagine how many more lives each year could be saved and how much more comfort and care could be provided for that amount of money.
Suddenly that 51p per person per year seems a lot bigger doesn't it?
I know what I would rather spend the money on.
*I say "direct cost" because this does not include the cost of things like security and civic receptions etc. It's hard to know what the total cost is but I have seen estimates previously (e.g. here) of around £100m. So maybe the real cost is more like 3000 nurses.
UPDATE: Millennium Dome in the comments has correctly highlighted the following which I thought was worthy of putting the main post:
I agree with you, but actually I'd say you can get even more nurses for your Royal Family buck!You've ADDED the employers NI cost - and fair enough that IS a cost to the Dept. of Health... but not to government spending overall because the Treasury, obviously, gets that money back. The actual cost to the exchequer of a nurse (or ANY public sector worker) is their salary NET of tax, so in the case of a nurse on £26,123 that's c£20,150 net of tax and NI.So I reckon the government could afford 1575 extra nurses a year for £31,753,620 :)