In today's column, Polly Toynbee writes:
The whole sector spends £25bn a year (the state spends £400bn).
Actually, at £457bn, it's closer to £500bn (see Public sector finances, April 2006. pdf link here). Being right to the closest £100bn is quite a low bar for accuracy...
She also says:
Is it the same nostalgic delusion that led John Major to dismantle the railways, forgetting that they would always need taxpayers' cash?
These clearly cannot be the same, apparently dismantled railways which Social Trends 36 means on page 182:
The number of journeys made on Great Britain’s railway network (including underground and metro systems) rose by 114 million between 2003/04 and 2004/05, to 2.2 billion. There were around 1.3 billion passenger journeys per year in the early 1980s and, apart from a period in the early 1990s, these numbers have generally increased. Between 1993/94 and 2004/05 passenger numbers rose by 44 per cent