Since the announcement of the upcoming Royal Wedding, it has become clear to an increasing number of people that the event is going to have a cost attached, and that cost will in part be picked up by taxpayers.
As I posted the other day, this kind of expense, if incurred elsewhere in the public sector, would normally incur the wrath of the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA), but on this matter they have chosen to equivocate.
Even so, there has been much debate on the costs and benefits of the Royal nuptials. The fawningly monarchist Daily Mail wheeled out an “expert” to tell that the boost to the UK economy could be as much as 620 million notes. But then again, like those Iraqi weapons and their supposed ability to reach Cyprus in 45 minutes, it might not.
But let’s take that 620 million figure as a best estimate of the economic benefit. Even if the wedding costs the taxpayer as much as 120 million, we’re still a whole half a billion better off ... aren’t we?
Well, sad to say, no we aren’t. Because, as the assembled hackery of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre have also eagerly told us, Young Dave has confirmed that there will be a bank holiday to mark the occasion. This, the Mail tells, is to allow us all to enjoy “a day of national celebration” (the Guardian was less certain of the bank holiday decision).
That bank holiday would carry its own cost, and fortunately the Federation Of Small Businesses (FSB) has quantified the amount. When the City of London suffered a white-out in February 2009, the quoted FSB figure for everyone taking a day off was a whopping six billions.
This would dwarf the supposed economic benefit from the wedding, and leave the UK economy around five and a half billions worse off. The TPA, though, has managed to miss this particular elephant in the room: their Campaigns Director Emma Boon told that “there will be some benefit to our economy”.
As Winshton might have observed, “some benefit ... some economy”.