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Counting the Cost

Some numbers, from the poet ‘Francis Crot’:

Highest estimated cost of riots: £100 million.
Tax avoidance by Vodafone: £6 billion.
Tax spent on Libyan intervention: £1 billion.
Tax money spent in Iraqi conflict: £4.5 billion.
Tax money spent in Afghan conflict (up until 2007): £7 billion. Still rising.
Tax avoidance in 2010 by “richest” (?) people in UK: £7 billion.
Tax spent on interest for bank rescue package: £131 billion. Still rising.
Total MP expenses bill (2007): £87.6 million. Still rising.

Technically, we could afford to have a riot for everyone!

You can quibble about the figures (the Financial Times has put the cost of the riots at more than £200 million), and they don’t quite add up (assuming ‘everyone’ means the 60 million people in the UK), but the general point holds – not to mention that the government is hardly in a position to accuse anyone else of not being able to count.

Comments on “Counting the Cost”

  1. willharwood says:

    Personally, I don’t care whether the riots cost £100M or £200M or 50p and a couple of bottlecaps. I care about feeling safe in my own city. Could you explain again what exactly is the “general point” that holds? That to rescue the financial system is 1,310 times worse than widespread looting? That submitting a receipt is the same as kicking in a shop window?


    • Thomas Jones says:

      The point is that any talk about the financial cost of the riots needs putting in perspective. As does quite a lot else.

      • willharwood says:

        Very true — and considering their impact (newsprint etc) the purely financial cost of the riots has been negligible. But, there are surely other costs than financial ones, and other more important measures of importance?

        (The way I think about it, if some internet fraudster steals £1000 from my bank account remotely I am going to be considerably less upset and damaged than if someone mugs me for a tenner and my aged mobile phone.)

        But you are right, and comparing millions against billions does help dampen the post-riot hyperbole.


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