UK budget, visualized

Apropos last night's post about the new UK cost-cutting budget and its efficacy in reviving the sinking economy, this Information is Beautiful chart visualizing the cuts against the deficit (click the link for legible, full-sized version).

Budget 2010: Information is Beautiful live blogs George Osborne's speech (Thanks, Barry!)


  1. It might be beautiful (I don’t think it is..) but it leaves some questions unanswered:

    Why are some circles completely within the big circle and some not? (Because if they were, the graphic would be even less informative?)

    Why are the little gray “Target” circles on the right smaller than the “Current Deficit” circles on the left, even though the smaller little black dots (representing proportion) are the same size? (Cut and paste within the image, you’ll see.) (Besides, what ARE those two kissing circles for?)

    First, I would have taken the ring between the two circles (the ‘with’ and ‘without’ cuts) and divided it into sections proportional to the departments’ cuts.

    Second, that £32B in interest (the white circle, lower left) should have been a ring inside the £92B, so that people can see that, even after the cuts, a third of the deficit is from interest on the accumulated debt.

    Third, there should be three nested circles showing the GDP, the debt, and the deficit.

    That would be an informative graphic.

  2. Does the “deficit after cuts” take into account the knock-on effects of the cuts in government spending? To what extent will the cuts damage the economy, decrease GDP and make the deficit worse?

  3. Why do people still insist on showing comparisons as different-sized circles? It’s been shown time and again that people aren’t able to accurately judge the relative areas of circles (e.g.). And I have the same question as #1: why are some of the holes not completely within the circle?

    I like the idea of the chart as having chunks bitten out of it, but as usual these kinds of things are at the expense of clarity.

  4. Graphical dubiousness aside, one should at least be aware of the powerful maledictions associated with the underlying deficit hawkishness here. Krugman is probably the loudest voice on this: “The Third Depression”

    In short: these juggernaut austerity policies will probably extend the bad economic time for all of us that aren’t CEOs of global corporations.

  5. That is an absolutely brilliant bit of propaganda there! they take information, wholly accurate in its numbers, and present it in such a way that minimizes some numbers while maximizes others.

    By using relative areas of the circle, they are able to take amount of budget slashing (over 40%) and make it seem smaller than the relative cuts.

  6. One thing that I haven’t seen taken account for is the impact on the deficit that the re-nationalisation of the 3 banks that were bailed out.

    A substantial amount of the debt was racked up buying Lloyds/HBOS, RBS and Northern Rock. They were bought at the bottom of the market and will be sold at some point, presumably for a lot more than they were bought for

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