The meter on the bailout has reached €22.88 billion. Some €18.88 billion has come through promissory notes, or State IOUs, which, the Government says, allows it to spread the cost over a “manageable” 10 to 15 years.
I’ve been sticking my head in the sand over this. I find it hard to hold in my head the idea of what a billion is, let alone €20bn. It takes necessary thinking labour time, of which I don’t have a great deal. So I decided to dig into the National Income Estimates yesterday to try to get to grips with what sort of money we’re talking about re: Anglo. As I say, I’ve been ignoring this stuff, so those of you who are already well acquainted with the figures, the arguments, the proceedings and so on may choose to avert your eyes. I apologise if the charts aren’t that clear, I haven’t figured out how to display Excel charts in WordPress properly yet.
Well, the National Income Estimates only go as far as 2009, which makes sense, seeing as 2010 hasn’t ended yet. And the first thing I did, to find out how Anglo Irish Bank figured in all this, was to do a Ctrl+F and search for Anglo. There’s one entry, on tab 23, for capital grants to enterprises, referring to Recapitalisation of Anglo Irish Bank PLC. Here’s how the grants stack up:
So Anglo received more than three times the rest of capital grants combined. And 4bn is a nice and snug round figure, three zeroes in a row, instead of the piddling 78 million for CIE. But what does 4bn mean in the context of government capital expenditure?
Grants to Enterprise was ticking over nicely all the way through the boom, making up 5-7% of capital expenditure. Then bam! 2009 we’re up to nearly 25% of capital expenditure. Only problem is that in 2009, it’s mostly down to Anglo Irish Bank.
But even at that, we’re only talking about capital expenditure. What the hell do I know about how much that ought to make up of total government spending? So I had a hoke about to see where capital expenditure fit into the overall spending, and I opened out a separate category for Anglo Irish Bank. Here’s where Anglo stacks up against other areas:
Anglo Irish Bank is straight in at number 6 in 2009 in terms of state spending priorities. Bear in mind, none of this has anything to do with the 2010 money for the bank, taking it into the tens of billions. This is just the entry on the National Income Estimates. How the later money is going to be reflected in 2010 estimates I have no idea.
But seeing as we’re heading into the propaganda season leading up to the budget, talking about the ‘savings’ that will have to be made, what with the ‘fiscal austerity’ being demanded by the ‘markets’, in the form of cuts to welfare, education and health, consider austerity in relation to spending on Anglo Irish Bank:
And then consider the additional tens of billions not accounted for here, and ask yourself: whose austerity?
And whose bonanza?