Italian business association Confcommercio recently carried out some research into just how much Italy’s politicians cost Italians. The answer is that Italy’s politicians cost around €152 per capita or €352 per family unit. To put that figure in perspective, the cost of politicians in the United Kingdom is a mere €9 per person.
According to Confcommercio, there are 154,000 national and local politicians in Italy. A veritable army of the blighters, by the sounds of things! This army of Italian politicians costs Italy about as much to run as a real army at some 9 billion Euros a year. And Italy’s honourable members of parliament are some of the best paid in Europe. No mention of return on investment was made, unsurprisingly. As a matter of interest the Italian army is 108,000 strong.
How can these stratospheric sounding costs be put into perspective? Now that is a good question, and it just happens to be one which Reuters Italy’s Chief Financial Correspondent Lisa Jucca put to me via Twitter. Time for some darting around the web, I thought to myself, rising to Reuters’ challenge.
Here’s what I came up with:
The United Kingdom had around 30,000 elected politicians and civil servants in 2009. They cost the country £500 million (€584 million) a year, according to an article from July 2009 on the Express.co.uk.
The population of Britain was 61,802,000 in 2009.
A quick calculation results in cost per capita for 2009 of £8 (just over 9 Euros at current exchange rates). Inflation in the UK in 2010 was 3.286%, which would bring per capita cost of politics in Britain to €9.29 today.
Assuming the UK and Italian figures are genuinely comparable, the cost of politics to Italy at €152 per head compared to the United Kingdom’s €9 appears to be exorbitantly high.
As a matter of interest, the UK’s Royal Family costs Britons 65 pence per person.