Five things for Cameron to Remember
As Cameron is tipped to make even more draconian announcements about “welfare” later today, Victoria Winckler points out five facts to remember.
- The most costly element of the “welfare” bill is pensions, not Income Support for lone parents or Housing Benefit. Pensions and related benefits for pensioners account for two-thirds of social security benefits (£96.6 billion out of a total spend of £147.6 billion in 2009/10).
- Income-related benefits, those reviled by the Government as ‘something for nothing’, account for less than a third of the benefit bill, at £47 billion.
- A substantial number of benefit claimants are working. About a third of Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit claimants are in employment and more than three-quarters of families claiming Child and/or Working Tax Credit are households where someone is working. They claim because their earnings are low not because they are scroungers or lazy.
- Relatively few people claiming benefit claim for a long period. Only 1% of Jobseekers’ Allowance claimants have been claiming for more than 12 months. A much higher proportion (80%) have been claiming Incapacity Benefit / Employment and Support Allowance for more than 12 months, as would be expected from a benefit intended to support those too sick or disabled to work.
- Estimates of the cost of tax avoidance vary considerably but the Tax Justice Network suggests it costs the UK £69.9 billion. Is it a coincidence that the statement about benefits is coming after a week of unprecedented focus on tax issues?
Victoria Winckler is Director of the Bevan Foundation.
Department for Work and Pensions Benefit Expenditure Tables http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd4/index.php?page=expenditure
Department for Work and Pensions statistics on Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit
HMRC Personal Tax Credits Provisional Statistics http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/personal-tax-credits/cwtc-quarterly-stats.htm
IB/ESA and JSA duration of claim statistics via NOMIS
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