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Social security expenditure in Great Britain: Social Indicators summary

Published Thursday, December 8, 2016

Summary data on benefit and tax credit expenditure in Great Britain.

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Expenditure in Great Britain on social security benefits (incl. state pension) and tax credits is forecast at £212.0 billion in 2016/17, equivalent to 28.4% of total public expenditure or 11.3% of UK GDP.

Expenditure on benefits administered by DWP and HMRC







Pensioner expenditure accounts for 55.7% (42.5% State Pension, 12.8% other pensioner benefits). Contributory benefits account for 47% of total spend (as against around 70% in the 1960s/1970s).

DWP/HMRC social security spending 1991/92 to 2020/21, real terms (2016/17 prices)






In 2014-15, overpayment due to fraud and error in DWP benefits is estimated at £3.1bn (1.8% of total DWP benefit spend), of which £1.3bn was due to fraud. An estimated £1.6bn was underpaid in error.


Commons Briefing papers SN02656

Author: Richard Keen

Topics: Benefits administration, Public expenditure, Working age benefits

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