House of Commons Library reveals UK welfare least supportive in NW Europe

From SNP Media

New analysis shows the Westminster government has presided over the least generous unemployment benefits in North West Europe for the past two decades.

The analysis from the House of Commons Library [See Notes] has revealed that when 16 types of households on average unemployment benefits are compared over twenty years across 14 countries in North West Europe (including the UK), the UK ranks lowest in 95% of cases.

For the latest year available – 2019 for Switzerland and 2020 for the other 13 countries – the UK is only better in 2% of cases, equal in 1% and worse in 97%; and of the four cases in which the UK does not rank lowest or equal to, it is only by a single digit. 

The figures, using OECD data, show that unemployed people in the UK receive 16 percentage points of their employed income less than the average North West European country. When compared to small countries similar in size to Scotland, this rises to 19 percentage points.

Figures from the Mutual Information System on Social Protection also show that the support a single person receives through Universal Credit in the UK is less than a fifth of the average unemployment benefits provided by other European countries, even with the uplift.  

The flat-rate payment offered by the UK is equivalent to just 18 per cent of average weekly earnings. When the uplift is removed, it will be worth 14 per cent of average earnings. In comparison, Nordic countries offer as much as 90% of previous wages.

Commenting, the SNP’s Fair Work and Employment spokesperson and Glasgow MP Chris Stephens said:

“The UK already has the least generous unemployment benefits in North West Europe, as well as the worst poverty levels, and is one of the most unequal countries in the developed world – the planned Tory austerity cuts will make this worse and see half a million more people plunged into poverty and undermine Scottish Government support.

“Scotland deserves better than this. This data shows that independent countries of Scotland’s size, or smaller, are consistently fairer and generous with welfare support – recognising, as the SNP Scottish Government does, that providing a proper social security net to support people when they face a change in financial circumstances outwith their control, is the duty of any government.

“Indeed, a social security safety net is needed more than ever at a time when people are reeling from the twin effects of Brexit and Covid – but instead this Tory government, after it already spent a decade dismantling it, plans to hack away at it further. 

“By becoming an independent country, with full powers over employment, social security and the economy, Scotland can be more successful and better off – just like our European neighbours.”

House of Commons Library analysis on average benefits in unemployment after 6 months as a percentage share of previous income


9 thoughts on “House of Commons Library reveals UK welfare least supportive in NW Europe

  1. Isn’t this why we are Better Together? Bodger Broon keeps telling us that we can ‘pool and share’. So, Better to pool the money and share it amongst the wealthy people because being wealthy proves they know how to manage money, whereas, people on welfare are on welfare because they don’t know how to manage money. So, give them as small a share as possible, but make them pay tax to ‘pool’ some of it to share with the wealthy. They will ‘invest’ it and investment is A GOOD THING, isn’t it? Especially the dividends and shareholder value and bonuses.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Can anyone show some actual figures for the various benefit levels referred to? Also, how do basic state pension levels compare?


    1. Pensions are the lowest in the top 64 OECD countries. In 2020 U.K. state pensions were lowest as a percentage of average income. Search YouTube ‘pensions in an independent Scotland’ A 14 minute video.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. These figures feed into the Drug Deaths debate too . The long term grinding down effects of poverty are all too real .
    This study highlights that both Tory and Labour administrations at Westminster are culpable .
    How many preventable deaths can be attributed to the callous indifference from this Union ?
    And this will only become worse as this malodorous Tory regime continues with its ”me first” attitude to wealth .
    They have taken to heart the scripture passage when Jesus said ” The poor you will always have with you ” , and have taken measures to ensure that there will be always be plenty in that category .
    Not quite ”Let them eat cake – more , let them eat gruel – but charge them for it !

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Surely no one is surprised.
    The “party of government” in the UK is an English party of privilege, private education, jobs in the City, old school tie, Bullingdon Boys elite.
    “Give me a bung and I’ll give you double”!
    They have no idea how the other half (95%) live, the squalid lives of the many, the desperation to “better” your children when there is no road map out. The loss of steady jobs, life chances zero, drugs, drink, crime and “count yourself lucky you have a pittance”!
    Labour? What did they say when Austerity was introduced?
    “It doesn’t go far enough”, they whined.
    A Daily Mail-lite political party, let by a “don’t rock the boat” London Lawyer down south, and yet another privately educated nonentity in Scotland.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Westminster Gov too busy wasting £Trns on illegal wars, tax evasion and financial fraud destroying the world economy. HS2, Hickley Point, Trident etc. etc. The Tory slush fund. A total waste of monies. BBC propaganda £5Billion. Illegal PPE contracts for Tory donors. Illegal unwarranted access for Tory donors for influence and access to public assets. Total unwarranted corruption goes unchecked.

    People being starved and dying. The lowest possible pension. The administration costs more than payout. Increasing (UK) pensions would cut costs and save monies.
    Treating people with respect.

    If Scotland was Independent (Gov) pension could be increased. Instead of spending £Billions on Westminster waste and bad, poor management decisions. Scottish (UK) Gov old age pensions (welfare benefits). come from revenues and funds raised in Scotland by Scottish taxpayers. It goes down to the Treasury and then comes back. (£15Billion?). Cut from Scottish remuneration and revenues.

    The people most in poverty are elderly women who live longer. 5 years on average longer than men, worldwide. They were denied pension rights because they worked P/T. At that time P/T workers were denied access to work pension funds. They could not contribute into them. UK Gov policy. 1970s+. The revenues were lost to those concerned.

    Cherie Blair won a high court case to stop retrospective payments. The recent scandal of the women denied pension rights. Not remunerated causing hardship.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I don’t suppose this is headline news at the BBC in all four countries of the UK, or in the daily propaganda pages on shop shelves. I know daft question.

    The Tories/red Tories and their yellow pals the LibDems, are all in it for the long haul, nothing is going to shift their greedy selfish butts from the seat of power in UKOK, yet, people in England, the country which has first choice over who gets to plonk their fat butt at the top seat at WM, vote for them, especially the blue Tories! It’s a one party ‘state’ the UK, because other than the SNP MP’s there is no opposition to the British Nationalist right wing parties in power.

    It’s terrifying because, Brexit. Young people don’t stand a chance, their wings are clipped, unless they are rich and/or privileged, they will be forced into national service, picking fruit, or fighting whichever the BritNats in power choose, and Scotland, without independence, can’t escape the imposed poverty, so called austerity, horrofic working conditions for those who do or can work, and t the end of that, a pension? Lolz not until you are dropping doon from exhaustion, depression, and oppression. The EngGov are talking about raising the pension age, even though as it is it’s far too high.

    The cabal at the helm at WM are basically fascist, they oppress their own people, they give hoards of public money to their pals and pocket it for themselves, they create division among the poor, they create racists and embolden them, well, the list is endless.

    I just fear for Scotland and our young people, only independence for Scotland can stop the Tories taking a wrecking ball to peoples’ lives, to communities, and to our country. Sorry if this all seems so bleak, but with Brexit, imo, things are about to get much much worse.

    This is a very apt letter from Johnson’s letters writer in Scotland. ;-))

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Can we persuade Business for Scotland to publicise this widely, including in England if possible.
    They had a recent successful campaign to inform people of the real state of Scotland’s resources to show how well we would prosper if we were indepependent.


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