black cat
Image: © zserg via Pixabay

Taxpayers *don’t* have to pay for Treasury cat

The Treasury has had to reassure voters that its pet cat (aka the Chief Mouse Catcher) doesn’t cost taxpayers any money.

What it means: British governments pay for lots of important things, from schools to hospitals, to roads to national defence. That spending adds up: to about £809 billion in 2017. But as Prime Minister Theresa May likes to hammer home, there are no magic money trees for the government to get this money from.

Instead, the government gets almost all - 93 percent to be precise - of its revenue (spending money) from taxes. (The remaining 7 percent comes from from selling stuff the government owns, like the Royal Mail service, or from borrowing money and going into debt).

The British government also does most of its work in old buildings, which have a bit of a mouse problem. So it “hired” three cats, called Larry (Chief Mouse Catcher of Number 10) Palmerston (Chief Mouse Catcher of the Foreign Office) and Gladstone (Chief Mouse Catcher of the Treasury). But British taxpayers want their money to be spent in ways they approve of, and some were annoyed at the possibility of their funds being frittered away on feline employees who are often accused of catnapping on the job.

The Treasury has now announced that Gladstone, at least, costs the taxpayer nothing at all. (Which is just as well, considering Gladstone has been dubbed the “most pampered cat in Britain”.) His food, toys and catnip is paid for by staff and visitor donations. Cat-astrophe averted.

Read our explainers on government spending and tax.

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Reader Comments

  • RW

    Your right to a degree. You mentioned “the wandering Jew”.

    I elaborate that the Jewish people, historically have tended to migrate almost exclusively to locations that are economically and culturally vibrant already. I would speculate that Jews have thrived in these places and have often improved the bounds of their economies and knowledge base.

    You can also ask; how many massive entertainment conglomerates, Nobel winners or billionaires has Isreal developed? If Jews are so capable, why isn’t Tel Aviv the Rome of our time?

    Jews are successful because they value education, maintain a strong social cohesive, they actively monitor and have a good sense for Zeitgeist wherever they are and they carefully choose the places they settle and congregate themselves heavily in these choice locations.

    But most importantly (haulocaust increased the importance of this aspect), they actually designed their culture for success. They not only attend Harvard, they use what they learned to better the group as a whole. With as much, they studied intricate networking systems, adapted to it and in many cases improved upon them. (See how Japan acquired Aegis warships and made them better).

    Of course there is nothing wrong with any of this. It’s when you elaborately gain disproportionate power in any society where you would stand out, you must take care when attempting to make a society better (Civil Rights movement) and rewriting that society all together (mass immigration). Ask blacks in China, Mexico, Philippines or India how much opportunity they have? Go to businesses owned by their American diaspora and see how many blacks they hire. Go to Silicon Valley and see how many East or South Asian tech workers wish they could work with more black people. California might work as a state, but as a nation, I think your rolling the nuclear dice here. I hope we can succeed as a tolerant pluralistic superpower but at this stage in human societal development, it’s a pipe dream.

    And if Jews really are the icon for success, they would see that fundamental human successes happen over generations. Just look at the rest of the planet? Are we ready?