Today’s front-page lead on the Daily Express – LABOUR’S £186BN BENEFITS MADNESS – revealed that in 2009/10 spending on benefits would amount to a quarter of all State spending. The “madness” to which the Express refers is, presumably, their belief that the £186 billion, or the vast majority of it, is being squandered; when analysed, however, the figures in the Centre for Policy Studies report reveal a somewhat different picture.
£68.6 billion is to be spent on pensions – 37 per cent of the total. Only last year the Express called for a 45 per cent hike in the State pension, which, if carried through, would have led to a total spend on pensions of almost £100 billion.
Other principal areas of benefit spending include Child Tax Credits (£15.7bn), Child Benefit (£11.8bn) and Housing Benefit (£19.6bn), with only £21.7 billion being spent on Income Support, Jobseeker’s Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance.
Sources: Benefit Simplification (Centre for Policy Studies), 2009 Budget Red Book (HM Treasury) and Benefit Expenditure Tables, Medium Term Forecast, June 2009 (Department for Work and Pensions)Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.