To what extent does the government budget/statement reflect current government priorities? In this study I will be investigating the extent to which the governments budget statement reflects their spending on current priorities, such as the NHS, Defence and Education. To do this I will be researching changes in spending using the current budget statement (2007) and also other secondary data resources to find out the total percentage of the governments budget is spent on specific areas, such as housing, defence, public transport etc.
I aim to find out how much spending in these areas has increased in recent years, or indeed whether spending has decreased over recent years. Priority One: The Environment. The environment, or more precisely protecting it is a key concern for today's government, and an issue that they appear to be trying to combat. In the 2007 budget the government announced an 800million pound window for the environment transformation fund, this is to finance overseas development programmes that deliver both poverty reduction and environment benefits in developing counties.
The government is also increasing the funds available through the Low Carbon Buildings Programme, to a total of over 18million pounds. This is to help meet the demands for households for microgeneration technologies. This extra funding combined with other funding towards housing and the environment has increased the total spending from i?? 21billion in 2006 to i?? 22billion in 2007. Evaluation/Analysis.
This research would indicate that the current government spending in environment does reflect the fact that it is one of their priorities. The government have clearly made substantial progress in dedicating more of the budget towards environment, even within the last three years. If you compare the efforts made towards improving the environment in the 2005 budget with the ones made in the 2007 it becomes clear just how much the government have started to invest in overseas projects etc.
However although they have significantly increased the spending in recent years, spending in areas such as social protection and health have been increased by significantly more than spending on the Environment, this may indicate that the government do not prioritise the Environment perhaps as much as some people argue they should. Priority two: Employment, Training and Education. The government claims to be making changes in order to improve employment ( e. g. better training for people who have been out of work for a long period of time etc).
Some of their aims regarding employment are: – continuing to make in work credit available to lone parents until June 2008, benefiting over 250. 000 lone parents. – A four week run-on in entitlement to working tax credit from the day that a previously eligible claimant ceases to work 16 hours. There are many more aims, most revolving around training schemes (especially for people who' s second or other language is English), or helping to get people who have been out of work for a long time back into work.
Education; With the UK economy becoming ever more revolving around qualifications, the need to have a well-trained and educated workforce becomes vital. This without a doubt makes it one of the government's main priorities, the latest example of this being Labours intention to raise the minimum school leaving age to 18, by offering apprenticeships, college courses, or work based training to every child. This would clearly require a increase in the budget allocated for education, which the government has provided.
– In the 2007 budget report the government announced investment in education and skills in the UK to rise to i?? 90billion by 2010-11. – More recently the budget has risen from i?? 73billion spent in 2006 to i?? 77billion in 2007. Evaluation/ Analysis. Although the government clearly has specific aims, and targets in relation to improving employment and training opportunities, it has not significantly increased its spending on this area in several years, and the spending has remained exactly the same this year as it was last.
This would suggest that current government spending does not reflect its priorities, at least in employment anyway. However this may not necessarily be the case, because although it is the governments priority to improve employment opportunities for all, you do not necessarily have to increase spending to do so, for example it may simply be a case of making sure the current budget for employment is being spent efficiently.
Also because of the nature of many of the current aims of the government relating to employment, are more about establishing links with big companies in order to get people back to work, and reviewing the current education opportunities for adults, they may not take so much funding to establish. The benefits of sufficiently increasing the funding that is putting into training etc, would be the lowering of unemployment something which the government is constantly trying to reduce.
The graph shows the productivity per worker (2006), putting more money into training & employment would also help the UK to raise its productivity per worker, to make it more competitive with other countries such as France, the USA and China. This is a vital step to take as the current leader USA has a 28% advantage in productivity per worker than the UK currently does. Education would appear to be another one of Labours top priorities, and the substantial increase in spending does indicate this.
In my opinion it would be nearly impossible to argue that the governments spending doesn't reflect the fact that education is a priority, purely because of the sheer investment over recent years. One of the reasons for this increase in investment may be due to the lower output per worker that Britain encounters, and also due to the need for more qualifications in order to survive in the modern world. Priority Three; Defence/ The War On Terror. Recent world events have caused defence to once again become a priority, and the government appear on the surface at least to be taking steps to improve Defence and to fight the war on terrorism.
In 2006-7 the expenditure on Defence was i?? 32Billion however, In the 2007 budget statement the government issued: – A further i?? 86million to strengthen the fight against terrorism. – A increase in the Defence budget to i?? 37billion by 2010. i?? 500million of which will be used to create better accommodation for members of the armed forces. Evaluation/ Analysis This research shows clear evidence suggesting that the government spending on Defence does reflect the fact that it is a current priority of the government.
The fact that government is quite substantially increasing the budget over the coming years indicates that in the area of Defence at least the government is reflect the fact that it is a priority in its budget allowance. According to the latest figures (2005), the UK is the second highest spender (in cash terms) on Defence in the world behind only the United States. At 2. 5% (2006) of GDP, the Defence Spending of the UK is above the NATO European average. We spend about the same proportion as France and more than Italy and Germany.