Sky News on Welfare

…is surprising hard-hitting.

A great post from Ed Conway: “How the Government is Misleading us with its Definition of Welfare, and Why it Matters.

To be fair, this isn’t anything new. DWP has so many priors when it comes to abuse of statistics that I am weak thinking about it – and the government is more than happy to use this misreporting to advance its ideologically-drive austerity drive, but still, it’s heartening to have such a straightforward piece on this ahead of the personal tax breakdown statement that we’ll all be receiving soon. In the style of the excellent fact-checking statistics programme on BBC, More or Less:

“So-called “social protection” actually accounted for a total of £251bn last year – some 37% of the Government’s total spending. Surprising as this might sound, a mere £4.9bn of this was unemployment benefits – only 0.7% of the total governmental spending bill. In fact, the biggest chunk of all was the state pension, which was either 15.2% or 12.1% of total spending, depending on who you ask (we’ll get onto that in a moment). Some £37bn, or 5.5% of total spending, was disability and injury-related benefits. 2.4% was child benefits and 3.8% was housing benefits.

But this category also includes personal social services – in other words social work and social care. These may well fit the definition of “social protection” but don’t seem entirely synonymous with welfare. They are certainly not handouts.”

Business as usual at the DWP then.

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