January 19, 2007
That Gambling Epidemic
Truly, the nation is verily in the grip of a massive gambling epidemic:
The average British family spends more on gambling than fresh vegetables, fresh fruit or holidays abroad, according to an official analysis of family spending.
We can see the Four Horsemen saddling up, presaging the destruction of the very civilization.
But we do seem to be quite rich really:
Out of £443 a week, transport is the most expensive item at £62 a week, but recreation and leisure is the second biggest expense for British families at £58 a week. This includes TVs, computers, newspapers, books, leisure activities and holidays. On average, £12.50 a week is spent on package holidays abroad, compared with £1 a week on holidays in the UK.
Our second largest class of expenditure is enjoying ourselves? Sure, we'd all like that to be larger I'm certain, but it's hardly a picture of helots tied to the cruel wheel of working life's demands now is it?
And, err, out of that £443, just how much is it that we spend on gambling?
The Family Spending report, which is based on interviews with almost 7,000 families, reveals that £3.60 a week is spent on gambling, compared with £3.40 on fresh vegetables, £2.80 on fresh fruit and £3.20 on holidays abroad.
£3.60? That's, err, 0.81%. Now whether you look at gambling as the purchase of a mild thrill (one view) or a long shot attempt at getting a life changing amount of money (another, and there are plenty of highly respectable investment counsellors who would say that 1% of your portfolio on such long shots is an entirely valid approach) no, that sort of level of spending is not a threat to civilization.
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And note that if the average British family of 4 is spending £642/week which is well within striking distance of the 4x£100/week CBI plus a few hours work for one person.
Likewise the single OAP spend of £135/wk isn't too far off either. £35/wk more from a private pension or whatever...
Posted by: Francis | Jan 19, 2007 8:37:13 AM
"..no, that sort of level of spending is not a threat to civilization."
Want to bet..? ;)
Posted by: JuliaM | Jan 19, 2007 8:41:41 AM
The article should really have carried the headline "British families spend even less on fruit and veg than they do on gambling".
The modest amount they spend on gambling is neither a surprise nor a cause for concern, but the tiny amount spend on healthy food is, indeed, shocking.
Posted by: HJHJ | Jan 19, 2007 8:44:02 AM
I'm a bit confused:
"The average British family spends more on gambling than holidays abroad"
Ok, enticing headline. So what are the stats?
"On average, £12.50 a week is spent on package holidays abroad"
"The Family Spending report...reveals that £3.60 a week is spent on gambling"
That's cleared that up, then.
Posted by: Chris G | Jan 19, 2007 9:46:06 AM
Why is what you spend on veg an issue?
Surely how much you have is important (And for an individual to decide I might add), if Tesco have a deal on Veg and I save money and instead put it on United to beat Arsenal this weekend what's the harm?
Posted by: Steve B | Jan 19, 2007 1:04:21 PM
The Boy Dave (C) has the solution in all his organic/slow food.
Get more people buying that, instead of all that cheap supermarket veg. More spent on veg, and less left over to spend on gambling.
Posted by: Tim Almond | Jan 19, 2007 2:06:51 PM