Budget.gov: the UK's real-time bank statement

Making the public budget publicly accountable.

I believe that each of us at any moment has the right to know exactly where our hard-earned tax - our money -  is going.

It is not enough to ask the public to dredge through public accounts documents or freedom of information requests to know where our money is going.

Budget.gov will be the nation's real-time bank statement. This means every second that your money is being spent - you will be able to see on the app exactly how it is being spent in real-time.

Budget.gov will be an easily readable colourful breakdown of how much of your money each Ministry, department and team is spending, what they are spending it on, and where it is being spent. By clicking on any line of expenditure, you will see a summary of where that money is going.

Budget.gov is an antidote to media spin: the raw facts of Government expenditure. It is a first step towards the world’s first-ever publicly-audited public budget.

Here’s how it would work in practice:

Whenever the Treasury approves an official or Minister’s demand for public money, the spending plan will be automatically uploaded to budget.gov. If it runs late, or over-budget, this will be visible to all.

The result? A lethal blow to to wasteful spending, broken promises, and non-competitive contracts.

The cost? Minimal, because once set up it will be automatic. I have worked on £multimillion spending plans and know that this could work, if we demand it.

They already have this information. This is about removing the smokescreen to ensure that we have it, too. All it would require is a day of training for Treasury officials and a small IT team to set up and administer the website. In fact, by putting an end to wasteful spending, it will make UK spending far more effective and efficient, no matter whom we elect.

Areas of national security and diplomatic sensitivity would be exempt for automatic uploading to budget.gov, to ensure accountability supports, rather than diminishes, UK interests.

Budget.gov is one idea from Vision For Britain, which presents big ideas for Britain’s future.

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