Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Austerity: what austerity?

Yesterday the annual survey by the ONS on UK household expenditure was released.  Apparently each household spends on average £484 a week, broken down as follows:

 Average weekly household expenditure on main commodities and services, 2011

What I find astonishing is that "recreation and culture" comes second, even though "alcoholic drinks, tobacco and narcotics" are classified separately, as are "restaurants and hotels."

Perhaps we should take these figures with a pinch of salt, as the "housing, fuel and power" section does not include mortgages, which seems a bit daft.  That apart, if our second highest expenditure is fun and games, we can hardly be said to be living in an age of austerity.  In fact, some 80% of us are living the life of Riley.

The sufferers are, of course the bottom 20%, whose expenditure pastern is probably very different.  Yet we shall probably hear today, in George Osborne's Autumn Statement,  of more cuts in welfare expenditure to make their lives even more miserable,  There will be lots of talk of "tough choices."  That's a lie. Providing a civilised standard of living for  the disabled, unemployed, elderly, does not mean the rest of us making serious sacrifices.  We just need to cut back a bit on recreation.

Incidentally, jogging is free, good fun, and makes you feel great.

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