Sunday, April 07, 2013

UK and international welfare spending

Using OECD data from Declan Gaffney (a great blog post – do read it), I’ve made the two charts below. They look at the amount of money different countries’ governments spend on benefits, excluding pensions and benefits in kind.

The first shows that benefit spending in the UK has fallen as a share of GDP, not risen. Of the 18 countries Declan compares, the UK spending fall was the fourth-largest from 1980 to just before the financial crash, and the fifth-largest from 1980 to 2009.


The second chart shows in more detail how spending has gone up and down. To avoid a mass of criss-crossing lines, I’ve included just six countries. This also shows that the UK welfare state – not counting pensions – is not particularly expensive by international standards.

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