£6,410 for every household: that was Carmarthenshire’s gross spending in 2011-12
by Pat Dodd Racher, October 6 2012
Over £6,400 for each household: that’s Carmarthenshire County Council’s gross spending
We pay council tax for this, don’t we? Yes, and it’s a big outlay for households not in receipt of council tax benefit*. But council tax brings in only a small percentage of the sums councils are spending. In the case of Carmarthenshire, net proceeds from council tax were £82.644 million in 2011-12, according to page 45 of the Accounts Statement. This was about £985 per household.
The council’s gross spending was £537.819 million, over £6,400 per household. The council tax proceeds were only 15% of this.
Now, I wonder if people would be more interested in voting if they were aware of the huge amounts of our cash spent by councils? The cash has to come from us ultimately, in national and local taxes, fees, and levies now and, to repay loans taken out on our behalf, in the future.
I am quite staggered by a figure exceeding £6,400, and so have double-checked it. Statement of Accounts, 2011-12, Carmarthenshire County Council, comprehensive income and expenditure statements: total council spending of £537.819 million gross. Number of households in 2011, calculated from the 2006-based population projection: 83,900. Gross cost per household: £6,410.
The council reported income of £203.001 million, leaving a net expenditure of £334.818 million. Carmarthenshire residents must supply most of that income, although I do not have a detailed breakdown.
The arrangements for the public to look at the accounts are somewhat peculiar, but obligatory under the Public Audit (Wales) Act 2004 and the Accounts and Audit Regulations 2005. This year, the inspection period ran from July 16th to August 10th, when many residents would have been preoccupied with summer holidays and/or the Olympics. Staff were helpful, I was pleased to find, and did their best to supply me with the data I wanted. Even better, I had access to an emergency exit, so it was not as claustrophobic as when in the locked public gallery. (You have to be accompanied to the toilets, though.)
Let me say again, gross spending of £6,410 for each and every household in Carmarthenshire.
Fewer than half the county’s electors cast their vote in the May elections for county councillors, 44.5% to be precise. Does that mean the majority 55.5% are not bothered how thousands of £s are spent on their behalf? Such lack of concern does not square with the zeal shoppers show when trying to save pennies off their weekly groceries!
Shall I say it again? Carmarthenshire County Council’s gross expenditure in 2011-12 came to £6,410 for every household. Net spending, after subtracting all the income received (a lot of it inevitably from those same households), amounted to £3,991 per household. That’s gross spending per household of £123.27 a week, net spending per household of £76.75 per week. That net figure alone is more than my food bill!
*Benefits, of course, also come from our taxes and other contributions, and from loans taken out on our behalf, but that’s another story.