If welfare spending is out of control the governments of Margaret Thatcher are to blame

It is usually politicians of the left who are accused of letting welfare spending get "out of control", but now seems a good time to look at just when it was that welfare spending began to take off as a percentage of GDP.

It’s usually politicians of the left who are accused of letting welfare spending get “out of control”; but now seems a good time to look at just when it was that welfare spending began to take off as a percentage of GDP.

The first graph shows total welfare spending (including spending on benefits for the unemployed, the disabled, those with children, housing benefit, social protection) whereas the second graph shows welfare spending as a percentage of GDP. In essence, the welfare bill has never recovered from Margaret Thatcher’s mass lay-offs of the 1980s – although as a percentage of GDP it did come down significantly under the last Labour government before climbing again during the banking crash.

Welfare under Thatcher

31 Responses to “If welfare spending is out of control the governments of Margaret Thatcher are to blame”

  1. LB

    Nothing like ignoring the big debts.

    ONS put the increase in pension liabilities, from 2005-2010 at 736 bn A YEAR. Not over all, each and every year.

    Why would you leave that off unless you are going to default?

  2. volcanopete

    As well as the economic impact the political act which defines her is the Poll Tax.

  3. Groucho

    Oh here’s LB with his one point again. Oh no -he does have that other one, that the Nazis were socialists. I forgot about that.

  4. J UK

    Wow, criticising Thatcher on the very day she passed away. Tasteful. Oh, and I got to this by a Facebook link that said “Something you won’t here”. I suppose awful use of English and lack of taste go hand in hand for this bunch of lefties

  5. J UK

    Wow, criticising Thatcher on the very day she passed away. Tasteful.

    Deleting my original comment hardly negates the fact that it’s completely disrespectful.

  6. Richard T

    “In essence, the welfare bill has never recovered from Margaret Thatcher’s mass lay-offs of the 1980s – although as a percentage of GDP it did come down significantly under the last Labour government before climbing again during the banking crash.”

    Er, that’s not what the chart shows. Maybe you’ve got your dates confused? Or you’re reading it upside down?

  7. Richard T

    “In essence, the welfare bill has never recovered from Margaret Thatcher’s mass lay-offs of the 1980s – although as a percentage of GDP it did come down significantly under the last Labour government before climbing again during the banking crash.”

    Er, that’s not what the chart shows. Maybe you’ve got your dates confused? Or you’re reading it upside down?

  8. Richard T

    “In essence, the welfare bill has never recovered from Margaret Thatcher’s mass lay-offs of the 1980s – although as a percentage of GDP it did come down significantly under the last Labour government before climbing again during the banking crash.”

    Er, that’s not what the chart shows. Maybe you’ve got your dates confused? Or you’re reading it upside down?

  9. Richard T

    “In essence, the welfare bill has never recovered from Margaret Thatcher’s mass lay-offs of the 1980s – although as a percentage of GDP it did come down significantly under the last Labour government before climbing again during the banking crash.”

    Er, that’s not what the chart shows. Maybe you’ve got your dates confused? Or you’re reading it upside down?

  10. Richard T

    “In essence, the welfare bill has never recovered from Margaret Thatcher’s mass lay-offs of the 1980s – although as a percentage of GDP it did come down significantly under the last Labour government before climbing again during the banking crash.”

    Er, that’s not what the chart shows. Maybe you’ve got your dates confused? Or you’re reading it upside down?

  11. Richard T

    “In essence, the welfare bill has never recovered from Margaret Thatcher’s mass lay-offs of the 1980s – although as a percentage of GDP it did come down significantly under the last Labour government before climbing again during the banking crash.”

    Er, that’s not what the chart shows. Maybe you’ve got your dates confused? Or you’re reading it upside down?

  12. Richard T

    “In essence, the welfare bill has never recovered from Margaret Thatcher’s mass lay-offs of the 1980s – although as a percentage of GDP it did come down significantly under the last Labour government before climbing again during the banking crash.”

    Er, that’s not what the chart shows. Maybe you’ve got your dates confused? Or you’re reading it upside down?

  13. Richard T

    “In essence, the welfare bill has never recovered from Margaret Thatcher’s mass lay-offs of the 1980s – although as a percentage of GDP it did come down significantly under the last Labour government before climbing again during the banking crash.”

    Er, that’s not what the chart shows. Maybe you’ve got your dates confused? Or you’re reading it upside down?

  14. Richard T

    “In essence, the welfare bill has never recovered from Margaret Thatcher’s mass lay-offs of the 1980s – although as a percentage of GDP it did come down significantly under the last Labour government before climbing again during the banking crash.”

    Er, that’s not what the chart shows. Maybe you’ve got your dates confused? Or you’re reading it upside down?

  15. Richard T

    “In essence, the welfare bill has never recovered from Margaret Thatcher’s mass lay-offs of the 1980s – although as a percentage of GDP it did come down significantly under the last Labour government before climbing again during the banking crash.”

    Er, that’s not what the chart shows. Maybe you’ve got your dates confused? Or you’re reading it upside down?

  16. Richard T

    “In essence, the welfare bill has never recovered from Margaret Thatcher’s mass lay-offs of the 1980s – although as a percentage of GDP it did come down significantly under the last Labour government before climbing again during the banking crash.”

    Er, that’s not what the chart shows. Maybe you’ve got your dates confused? Or you’re reading it upside down?

  17. Richard T

    “In essence, the welfare bill has never recovered from Margaret Thatcher’s mass lay-offs of the 1980s – although as a percentage of GDP it did come down significantly under the last Labour government before climbing again during the banking crash.”

    Er, that’s not what the chart shows. Maybe you’ve got your dates confused? Or you’re reading it upside down?

  18. Richard T

    “In essence, the welfare bill has never recovered from Margaret Thatcher’s mass lay-offs of the 1980s – although as a percentage of GDP it did come down significantly under the last Labour government before climbing again during the banking crash.”

    Er, that’s not what the chart shows. Maybe you’ve got your dates confused? Or you’re reading it upside down?

  19. Richard T

    “In essence, the welfare bill has never recovered from Margaret Thatcher’s mass lay-offs of the 1980s – although as a percentage of GDP it did come down significantly under the last Labour government before climbing again during the banking crash.”

    Er, that’s not what the chart shows. Maybe you’ve got your dates confused? Or you’re reading it upside down?

  20. Richard T

    “In essence, the welfare bill has never recovered from Margaret Thatcher’s mass lay-offs of the 1980s – although as a percentage of GDP it did come down significantly under the last Labour government before climbing again during the banking crash.”

    Er, that’s not what the chart shows. Maybe you’ve got your dates confused? Or you’re reading it upside down?

  21. Richard T

    “In essence, the welfare bill has never recovered from Margaret Thatcher’s mass lay-offs of the 1980s – although as a percentage of GDP it did come down significantly under the last Labour government before climbing again during the banking crash.”

    Er, that’s not what the chart shows. Maybe you’ve got your dates confused? Or you’re reading it upside down?

  22. Robgilbert

    Rejoice, rejoice!!!!

  23. Robgilbert

    Be quiet, you right wing twat.

  24. Nobody important

    A useful initial piece of evidence that begs further questions regarding the political consensus which has formed in the post Thatcher era.
    The argument proposed by Thatcher and perpetuated by Osborne and Cameron that the state is the problem and private industry is the solution is of course pure propaganda unsupported by any evidence whatsoever.
    The state is in such debt and is of such a large size because it is forever responding to problems created by capitalism. The Conservatives may be right when they say the welfare bill is too large, but they are not courageous enough to ask the question “why?”
    The welfare bill is so high because capitalism has failed to provide full employment, and so people are forced to claim income support. It is so high because capitalist employers pay slave wages and so the state is forced to pay tax credits to people in work. It is so high because private landlords overcharge for rent, therefore increasing the housing benefit bill year on year.
    In short, government borrowing is so high because the state is forever subsidising failing private companies and individuals. Banks, bus companies, train companies, energy companies all receive state subsidies.
    The problem is not the state, the problem is a begging bowl capitalist model which forever relies on state handouts.
    And then these pathetic failed capitalists have the cheek to blame the problem on the very state which bails them out all the time.
    You have to admire their chutzpah.
    The left wing has become bewitched by this right wing propaganda.
    It is time to break that spell.

  25. Sparky

    James Bloodworth, are you blind? Graph two peaks just after 1980 and trends down.

  26. Mason Dixon Autistic

    It is entirely appropriate to criticise the policies of Thatcher and her government(you will note the article lacks any person comment about her) when on the day of her death, the legacy is being glossed over. There is respect and there is sycophancy. Her detractors do not show respect by descending into the same sycophancy as the mainstream media; that would be insincerity. The lady that was so hated diminished long ago because of Dementia; nothing nasty should have been directed at her in life or death, but the actions and judgement of Thatcher the Prime Minister is not out of bounds by any stretch.

  27. Ash

    That second graph is pretty jaw-dropping given the current hysteria over ‘unsustainable’, ‘out-of-control’ welfare spending. And both graphs make clear that the discretionary increase in welfare spending from around 2002-2006 – reflecting the introduction of tax credits, I imagine – was pretty modest. The recent spike undoubtedly reflects the impact of the recession. Proof if proof were needed that the Tories are using what could and should have been the temporary effects of an economic crisis to justify permanent changes to the welfare state.

  28. Soylent

    It is dangerous to leave her supporters to have a week-long unopposed slime fest of unabridged fawning and adulation for the evil crone.

    That’s what happened to the genocidal monster Reagan.

  29. Stephen Latham

    I don’t think the second graph supports this claim. Welfare seems to have reduced in relation to GDP for most of the period of Thatchers premiership, except the first few years. Same under Major.

  30. Cole

    And, as we know, Hitler was a well known socialist.

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