Wednesday, February 01, 2006

State of the Welfare Nation (3)

A commentor on State of the Welfare Nation (2) suggests that the continuing growth in welfare spending since Labour took office in 1999 is due to increased Super spending.

Super spending increased by $938 million or 18 percent.

Invalid/sickness benefit spending rose by $918 million or 83 percent.

Although the sharp growth in the second group is, in part, a reflection of our ageing population, the most common reason for being on one of these benefits is a psychological or psychiatric condition. Since 1999 the number of people on a benefit due to substance abuse problems has doubled and due to stress, tripled. Numbers with an intellectual handicap have risen by 6 percent. The trends here are as important, if not more, than the raw numbers.

There is some good news. The rate of increase in incapacity benefits has slowed slightly over the past year.

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