Sums, a la BBC

What with the Age of Austerity that’s upon us, the BBC has its wonderful way of dealing with numbers out in force.

My personal favourite is the do it yourself cul-ulator. Which lets you choose what to cut in percentage terms and then tells you what your cut means. I doubt some of its honesty though, for one or two reasons.

Reason 1: Defence

According to the BBC, if you cut defence by 30%, you’d be getting rid of 261,690 service personnel. Which is interesting, because apparently there are only 175,690 service personnel in the armed forces. To me, that arithmetic sounds weird: cutting 30% of funding shouldn’t really cut 150% of the armed forces, should it?

Reason 2: Public Order & Safety

Again, the 30% cut has a massive effect on manpower: in this instance, you would have 235,650 fewer police officers. Out of a total of 165,876. So taking away 30% of the money takes away 142% of the police. Which seems somewhat unlikely.

Reason 3: Welfare

Apparently taking 30% from the welfare budget would save £58.8 billion, which would be roughly £30 per week off the pension. But do the maths: 58,800,000,000 / (30 * 52) = a very unlikely 37.7 million pensioners. Which would put us right at the top of the ageing population chart, don’t you think.

Those are the three that immediately stuck out at me. Does anybody want to have a crack at seeing if the other categories add up any better? Because I’d guess they don’t. And I’d also guess that the BBC don’t care, as long as they show that any and all cuts are bad and will cause untold damage etc etc etc.

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