“How much does Higher Education cost each taxpayer per year on average?” she asked last Monday. The answer? Around £400 per taxpayer per year.
If you calculate the figure per person in the UK, the figure is about half that – but of course not every person pays tax.
The key to answering the question lay – it turned out – in knowing the right community to ask.
That community was users of Where Does My Money Go? (WDMMG) a site dedicated to analysing and visualising government expenditure information. After posting the question to the mailing list, one of the members of the WDMMG team published it to the site’s forum.
3 days later, Lisa Evans posted this answer:
If we take Tertiary educationfor the UK in 2009-10, from the country regional analysis data set, we get a total cost of £12.8 bn. Dividing this into the whole country population (let’s say 62 million) we get around £200 per person per year.
However, if we say there are 33.3 million individuals who paid income tax in 2008/09 (frtable 1.4 – number of taxpayers on HM Revenue and Customs stats site) , and given that income tax makes up the largest part of national income, then we can say that: