Pensions, Income Maintenance, and Taxation
The austerity policies pursued by the Coalition government following the economic crisis of 2008 placed great emphasis on the role of the state – including the level of public spending (much of which goes on the welfare state areas of social security, education, and health) and the rates of
taxation needed. This chapter examines perceptions of taxes and beneﬁ ts – and looks at the reality of both systems. It also notes the increasingly negative attitudes taken towards those receiving social security, itself a way of attempting to constrain spending in that area. It:
■ summarises the roles of taxation and social security in the UK – these are the main, but not the only, ways in which money is redistributed between individuals, via the state;
■ discusses the size and role of social security spending – in 2011-12, over £200 billion was spent on social security beneﬁ ts;
■ considers the size and role of taxation;
■ outlines public attitudes towards both systems;
■ describes how these systems have recently developed, and current plans for reform.