In fiscal year 2017 the governments in the United Kingdom are expected to spend about 40 percent of Gross Domestic Product. Most of the money goes for health care, education, pensions, and welfare programs.
Governments in the UK will spend £784 billion in 2017.
Table 2.01: Total Spending in 2017
In fiscal 2017 HM Treasury estimates that central government spending will be£611 billion. We estimate that local authority spending for 2017 will be £173 billion.
Total spending at all levels of government in the United Kingdom is estimated to be £784 billion in 2017.
The four big programs each cost over £100 billion a year.
Table 2.02: Total Spending Breakdown FY 2017
Where does all the money go? It is really quite simple. Governments at both levels, central and local, spend about £157 billion a year on pensions, including the state pension and civil service pensions. The government spends about £143 billion a year on health care, principally the NHS. Governments spend about £85 billion a year on education at all levels, at both the central government at the local authority level. The central government spends £46 billion a year on defence, including the Ministry of Defence, the Foreign Office and aid programs. Governments spend £113 billion on “Social Security” or welfare programs. All other spending amounts to about £230 billion, including interest on the national debt. It all adds up to £784 billion for 2017.
About 78 percent of public spending comes from the central government; About 22 percent is spent by local authorities.
Table 2.03: Total Spending Details FY 2017
The central government is budgeted to spend £611 billion in FY 2017. Pension programs, including the state pension and civil service pensions, will cost about £157 billion; health care andn the NHS will cost £138 billion; defence, including the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, will cost about £46 billion. Welfare, or Social Security, costs for the central government will come in at £58 billion, and central government education expenditures are budgeted at £58 billion. Interest on the national debt is estimated at £48 billion.
We estimate local authorities will spend about £173 billion in FY 2017. The biggest expenditure is £55 billion for welfare. Then comes £47 billion for local authority education, and £15 billion for protection: police and fire. Local authorities will spend £9 billion on transport, and £44 billion on all other programs.
Although the four big government programs — pensions, health care, education, and welfare — each cost over £100 billion a year they are distributed unequally between the levels of government.
Chart 2.04: Total Spending Details
Total government spending in the United Kingdom, including central government and local authorities, is expected to total £784 billion in 2017. The total features four major functions. Of the total spending, pensions takes a 20 percent share, health care takes an 18 percent share, welfare a 14 percent share, and education an 11 percent share. All other functions, including defense and interest on the debt, take up 37 percent of spending.
Chart 2.05: Central Spending Details
Central government spending is budgeted at £611 billion for FY 2017, and includes two major functions. Pensions take 26 percent of central spending, and health care, the National Health Service, takes a 23 percent share. Welfare, or Social Security, takes 10 percent of central government spending, defence amounts to 7 percent of central government spending. All other spending, including interest on the national debt, takes 35 percent of central government spending.
Chart 2.06: Local Spending Details
Local authority spending, as estimated by ukpublicspending.co.uk, will total about £173 billion in FY 2017, and features three major functions. Welfare spending takes 32 percent of spending, education a 27 percent share, and protection, police and fire, an 8 percent share of local authority spending. All other spending takes a 32 percent share of local authority spending, with each function taking less than a 7 percent share.
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Expenditure data since 1983 comes from HM Treasury’s Public Expenditure Statistical Analysis reports.
Detailed table of spending data sources here.
Gross Domestic Product data comes from measuringworth.com.
Central government spending data begins in 1692.
Local authority spending data begins in 1868.
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