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Singapore has a top tax rate for residents of 22 per cent, but spends on average only 14 per cent of GDP on public services, compared with 35 per cent in the UK.

One of the two numbers is wrong. That’s either just purchases of goods and services – or the cost of their provision perhaps – for Singapore without transfers or the one for the UK is including transfers.

8 thoughts on “Nonsense”

  1. Statista has 35.4% in 2019/20 for “Total public sector current expenditure as a share of gross domestic product (GDP) in the United Kingdom (UK)”.

    For Singapore, the Statista chart is titled “Singapore: Ratio of government expenditure to gross domestic product (GDP): and the 2019 number is 14.34%.

  2. Singapore figure doesn’t include the Central Provident Fund, which is where most of the pension, health and welfare spending is. Probably also doesn’t include the Housing Development Board, which provides housing, or the sovereign wealth fund which owns various commercial operations (including the airline I think).

  3. It used to be that the difference between Singapore and Hong Kong was that, in Singapore, the government owned business whereas in Hong Kong, business owned the government. Nowadays, it is still true of Singapore (and it’s all controlled by the Lee family) but in HK, government is owned by the CCP.

  4. @RichardT – are you sure? GIC, for example, makes a contribution to Singapore public spending each year, which will be included in Statista’s data.

  5. Richard’s right. That tax rate doesn’t include the hefty contribution to the CPF, which is mandatory for residents.

    The GIC, as I remember it, invests the contributions to the CPF.

  6. MC, the dividend from the wealth fund to the government will be included as government revenue, and whatever it funds will of course be government spending, but the fund activity itself will not be (so if the fund owns an airline, the airline staff salaries will not be included as government spending – unlike the 1970s nationalised industries).

  7. Singapore 22% + Mandatory CPF contributions, which you get to spend for ill health, retirement or housing.
    UK 45% + required contributions to pension and health and retirement as the state will give you nothing.

    Singapore – elite education system pushing the youth to be exam machines – hires in labourers for menial work
    UK – mediocre education system pushing the youth to be activists – hire in labour for menial work

    Singapore – Crime free, cars are (very) expensive but it’s easy to travel around
    UK – Crime is a concern, cars are expensive and travel is a nightmare.

    Not sure comparisons can be purely on GDP.

  8. Also, on travel and such. Singapore is about half the size of Greater London, so the need for cars is somewhat less than for the UK.

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