U.K. tries online vote for budget cut ideas
Britain's Treasury Department has set up an online forum that lets members of the public vote on thousands of ideas for cutting federal spending.
Members of the general public submitted 44,000 ideas in an open call earlier this summer as part of the government's Spending Challenge.
From now until Aug. 31, visitors to the site will be able to look through the ideas and rank them with stars — one star being poor; five stars being excellent. The Treasury Department has said it will then investigate the most popular ideas in further detail as it sets the budget for the next four years.
The ideas cover a wide range of subjects, from academics to zoo crossings. The area of civil services garnered the most ideas for savings, with 6,234, followed closely by central government, with 5,982. Local government rounded out the top three, having inspired 4,194 ideas.
Cuts to the monarchy were also suggested. A call for "a public end to the Royal Family," their eviction and insistence they work for the minimum wage had received 3.6 stars, for example, with three votes tallied.
Other ideas include:
- Opening Parliament for just four days a month and adjusting legislators' pay accordingly.
- Scrapping the BBC.
- Having prisoners generate cheap electricity by hooking up their gym equipment to the power grid.
- Replacing the BMWs used by London's Metropolitan Police Service in favour of less-expensive vehicles.
- Ending funding for the Eurovision Song Contest.
Treasury chief George Osborne will announce spending plans to 2015 in a major speech in October. He wants to make savings of £30 billion ($48.6 billion) a year to reduce Britain's huge national debt.
With files from The Associated Press