In news which has sent the Daily Mail spinning out of control, the UK’s spending on ‘social protection’ is lower than France, Germany, the Netherlands, Ireland and in fact every country in Northern Europe, as well as Italy. These figures are based on spending per person from 2012, before many of the benefit cuts were implemented. With even more savage cuts to social security threatened, then the UK could soon slip even further down the ranking behind the beleagured economies of Greece and Spain.
Social protection covers a wide range of spending including benefits, pensions, healthcare and social exclusion. In a worrying trend the Daily Mail has decided to lump all thse vital services under the banner of ‘welfare’ suggesting that pensioners and people who use the NHS may be next in line to face being smeared as scroungers by the right wing press.
Almost half (47%) of the UK’s social protection spend goes on pensions. Just 2.5% of the total is spent on unemployment, just over half the European average, The UK also spends less as a proportion of the budget on disabled people and families with children. Subsidies for landlords remain healthy however with 5.5% of the spend going towards housing costs reflecting the ever growing Housing Benefit bill.
Social protection spending works out at £6,959 per head each year but that doesn’t mean that’s how much it costs you as the Daily Mail implies. It is how much you get. People on lower incomes will pay considerably less than that, whilst corporation and other business taxes also contribute. Depending on how long you live you will receive much if not all of what you have paid out back in your penson. At least for now. On top of that comes a comprehensive (for now) system of healthcare alongside now sadly less than adequate income protection insurance in the event of illness, accident or unemployment. The welfare state is still good value though for everybody except the very rich and were it to disappear then we would be paying a lot more to line the pockets of insurance company spivs. And it would be the rich who get the tax cuts were that to happen. Don’t get mugged by the Daily Mail into thinking otherwise.
You can vew the figures on the ONS website.
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