Idiot's guide to percentages

OK, even good mathematicians can occasionally make an embarrassing mistake with numbers, but to make the sort of basic mistake for which a ten-year-old child would be told off while accusing your opponent of not being good at maths is incompetence of a high order !

Labour shadow minister Kevin Brennan was speaking in Parliament during a debate on education and claimed that Labour had improved standards of numeracy, adding

''Only three in 10 pupils, that's 60 per cent because I know the Secretary of State is not very good at maths, only three in 10 pupils got a good GCSE in 1997.''

Clearly Mr Brennan is in no position to accuse anyone else of not being good at maths. So to help him, here is ...


Example 1)

Labour doubled the national debt to 1.2 trillion pounds
Labour scrapped the 10p tax band, and so doubled the marginal tax rate paid by the poorest taxpayers

 * If you double something you increase it by 100%

Example 2)

When Labour left office the government was spending four pounds for every three pounds of tax revenue.

 * So the share of the Labour government's spending covered by their income was 75%

Example 3)

Labour's outgoing treasury spokesman left a note for incoming coalition ministers saying that "there is no money left."

 * If you have spent all the money, the percentage left is 0%.

Example 4)

Since taking office the coalition government have reduced the spending deficit inherited from Labour by a quarter.

 * If you reduce something by a quarter, you cut it by 25%

And finally, example 5)

 * Three out of ten is 30%.


Jim said…
Well done, seems you get A* for your sums homework Mr Whiteside. I would drive you for a day out at Alton Towers on the school merit trip, but sadly I cant afford the fuel. Well I can, but I cant afford the tax, or the tax on the tax.

today at Morrisons diesel costs 135.9p a litre to buy.

but for each £1 I spend at the pump:

the fuel costs 41p
the VAT on the fuel is 8p
the fuel duty tax is 43p
and the VAT on the duty tax is 8p

so we see 41% of the price is fuel
and 59% is taken by the government to waste.

Still good old George wants to add 3p to the duty tax, which will also increase the VAT on the duty tax, and push up the transport cost, pushing up the fuel cost, which in turn will increase the VAT on the fuel cost.

Unfortunately unlike your good self, sir, Mr Osborne does not do so well at his sums, so has policy which harms the economy, cripples the tax payer and actually loses the treasury money.
Chris Whiteside said…
Well, you too are better than Mr Brennan at maths, Jim.

There's no doubt that the cost of fuel - including the tax and the taxes on the tax - are a major burden on both individual people and the economy.

The trouble is that with the bankrupt exchequer which the present government inherited, there is a shortage of good options. I am quite certain that cutting fuel tax is near the top of the things George Osborne wants to do as soon as he can afford it.
Jim said…
Thanks for your first comment, but lets face it, I knew that and so do you.

The thing is there in lies the problem, you see by reducing the tax on the fuel, then you see growth in the economy, which in turn leads to Jobs and workers, not folks on welfare.

so now we have seen that there is less spending on benefit, which is cancelled by the cut in fuel duty.

But, because fuel is cheaper, then the price of goods reduces (transport cost) so now we have more people buying, so we raise more in VAT. Also this one encourages people to travel further to work (again cutting benefit).

True example:
My wife works in Penrith and is really seriously thinking about leaving work, and just cleaning some where local. She is one the best recepionists at her work, but she cant do it anymore.

Now I think you kind of missed the point, so I need to reduce your sums home work to a B grade.

what part of "costing the treasury money" do you miss?

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