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‘Credit Crunch’ is a word we have heard a lot over the last five years. As students, we will suffer with the financial impact of leaving university with an average of £27,000 debt in tuition fees- but have the government really prioritised their spending?
This New Year, 2014 merged into 2015 with a bang as £1.8 million was spent on only 11 minutes of fireworks in our nation’s capital, marking the time when everybody resolves to become a ‘better person’ in the coming year. Arguably, these resolutions could have begun nationally before the New Year, if the government had chosen to invest the money spent on the sparkling display in areas that lack government funding, such as: Education, the NHS and care for the elderly.
Respectively, the £1.8 million spent on fireworks could have funded the tuition of 200 students for a whole year, or employed an average of 53 more teachers in schools for 2015. The same amount of money could have covered the cost of central heating for 1,327 pensioners age 65 and over for the next year – this is a growing problem for the elderly as the price of gas and electricity increases annually, whilst the average pension decreases.
The NHS is also an area funded by the government where cuts are being made. The two biggest killers in the UK are Cancer and Heart disease, which are complex diseases that are highly expensive to treat. The £1.8 million, if invested in the NHS, would enable the treatment of 51 cancer patients requiring both chemotherapy and radiotherapy, or alternatively provide 57 heart transplants to those in need.
On the upside, the Mayor of London introduced ticketing to Southbank’s famous event in 2014. This not only puts money back in to the Greater London Authority, but also reduces the cost of crowd control and emergency services kept on standby, as the amount of people attending can be adequately monitored. And, whilst seemingly extravagant, the New Year’s Eve spending is nothing compared to the budget that the government has reserved for beneficial projects set to commence in 2015. The same amount of money that was spent on fireworks is also being spent on employing more language teachers in schools.
We appear to be omitting the fact that whilst the media jumps at the opportunity to present the government as excessively frittering away tax payer’s money, they are also contributing to some very monumental projects this year, including further funding into Bovine TB research which will not only reduce the risk to the public health, but also highly benefit the economy in terms of preserving agriculture.
Ultimately, can we argue that the seemingly frivolous New Year’s Eve spend is justified in comparison to the other projects and research that the government is funding in 2015?