Gransnet forums


... to be absolutely incandescent about the Cons new "Welfare" catagory

(18 Posts)
Gracesgran Thu 06-Nov-14 18:06:32

You may have seen that the government are sending all tax payers a statement showing a breakdown of where their money goes.

However a favourite of mine, the Full Fact website, points out that while it shows 25% of taxes goes on "Welfare", "Welfare" as a category was created for the statement. The government did previously define "welfare" in relation to the "welfare cap" but this contained fewer categories.

For the purposes of this statement "welfare" includes incapacity, disability and unemployment benefits. Nothing strange there you might say. They have also added in the figures for home care and child protection.

They do show state pensions as a separate category which is strange as everything I have received relating to my pension calls it a "benefit". Obviously not all benefits are "welfare" and not all "welfare" is anything to do with benefits. This becomes even more obvious when you realise that, although State Pensions are not grouped under this heading Public Sector Pensions are.

If you go to you can see the graph that is to be sent out and also a breakdown of the "Welfare" section.

If you are a low income earner/pensioner paying taxes your statement will also be skewed by the none inclusion of some of the taxes you pay.

I really have to agree with Full Facts final paragraph

Statistics must be presented in a way which “enhances clarity [and] interpretability”, according to the Code of Practice for Official Statistics. A letter using official figures sent to 24 million people which fails to meet these criteria is something about which the UK Statistics Authority should be concerned. We’ll be inviting it to take a view.

I think this is blatant electioneering using tax payers money - how about you?

granjura Thu 06-Nov-14 18:09:03

Your title thread made me laugh- so apt (only French speakers will get that ;) )

Mishap Thu 06-Nov-14 18:34:27

granjura! - I did not notice until you pointed it out!

Mamie Thu 06-Nov-14 18:53:12

grin Granjura
Yes I was a bit bemused to see the pension to which I contributed for 35 years and now pay tax on described as "welfare".

FlicketyB Thu 06-Nov-14 18:55:46

Gracesgran I absolutely agree with you.

Mishap Thu 06-Nov-14 19:19:19

D****d statistics! They can be twisted to mean whatever you choose and are a very good way of pulling the wool over people's eyes.

trendygran Thu 06-Nov-14 19:24:49

Exactly Mamie! Same here. Why is this ridiculous government wasting millions on these letters when that money should be allocated to genuine welfare,(whatever they perceive that to be? )

Agus Thu 06-Nov-14 19:29:00

I read it the same way too Granjura and also thought, perfect description grin

granjura Thu 06-Nov-14 19:35:05

(for the uninitiated 'con' in French is a 'twit' with a vowel change ;) )

FlicketyB Thu 06-Nov-14 19:38:08

Please do not blame the statistics. Having been responsible for drawing up statistics, the statistics are simply measures of, usually finite, items. It is the manipulation of the statistics by those who commission or have access to them that causes the problem.

Mishap Thu 06-Nov-14 19:56:01

The definition of categories in the statistics is what needs examining with a fine toothcomb. Otherwise they are taken at instant face value and can mislead.

durhamjen Thu 06-Nov-14 23:29:36

Another article which supports Full Fact. I agree; do not blame the statistics, blame the man who told the statisticians what to look for, the one who wanted some Tory propaganda.

Why did nobody tell Osborne that it would be a stupid thing to do?

mollie65 Fri 07-Nov-14 13:58:28

I do hate my 'state pension' for which I have paid lots of NI over 40 years being classed as 'welfare'
to be pedantic the department is called the 'department of work AND PENSIONS' when it used to be called the DSS - and since HMRC administers Tax credits and Child Benefit (I think) are these excluded from the graph.
it is obfuscation of the highest order

Gracesgran Fri 07-Nov-14 15:07:13

State Pensions are not actually included in "Welfare" although I could just about understand (though not agree) why they might include them. Oh no, it is Public Sector Pensions, paid for by the worker and the employer, which are included confused.

These are the main areas:
Health 18.9
Education 13.2%
State Pension 12.1%
Debt Interest 7.0%
Defence 5.3%
Criminal Justice 4.4%

If you divide the new "welfare" section down as Full Fact has done it shows these areas:
Housing 3.8%
Other Pensions 3.1%
Family and Children 2.4%
Unemployment *
Other *
Incapacity, Disability and Injury 5.5%
Social Exclusion 4.2%
Personal Social Services 0.5%

The two * are both two small to show the percentage on the pie charts. It would be reasonable to assume they are less than 0.5% but perhaps someone actually knows.

On the original government pie there are also these area which do not have percentages next to them. I don't think it is unreasonable to assume they are all less than 4.4% as that is the lowest they do show:

Business and Industry
General Administration
Housing and utilities
Overseas aid
Contribution to the EU budget

Gracesgran Fri 07-Nov-14 15:08:27

I very rarely shorten political names as it seems rude. Having been enlightened by our French speakers I think I am glad I did smile

Gracesgran Fri 07-Nov-14 15:25:42

That's a really interesting article durhamjen. I really do not understand why there is not more of an outcry about this.

Gracesgran Fri 07-Nov-14 15:54:51

This is really interesting

It shows the graph from the Government Website - strangely not the same as the one sent out.

"If people bother to go to the government website, where the welfare budget is broken down, they can see that only 3% of welfare goes to the unemployed, while pensions account for 46%. But this is not what we will see on our statements. It is designed to make people think we spend more on bad things (welfare) than on good (health)."

Eloethan Fri 07-Nov-14 16:15:04

As Suzanne Moore said in the Guardian today, the purpose of providing this statistical breakdown (which will apparently cost £5m) is to try to raise the hackles of "hardworking taxpayers" in order to prepare the ground for even more cuts.

Whether a person is liable for income tax, and the amount they are liable for, is dependent on what they earn. But everyone pays VAT at 20% even those whose incomes are minimal. Proportionate to their incomes, the poor pay out much more in taxes - what a shame Mr Osborne chooses not to broadcast that fact.