Chart of the month: Who gets the money?

Redistribution copy

Whether pensioners are over-privileged – pensions triple lock, politically favoured because they vote in large numbers, etc, etc – is a subject of almost constant discussion in the UK. 

Is it true?

To examine one aspect of this question, we looked at a recent (2021) report from the Joint Research Centre (JRC), the European Commission’s science and knowledge service. The report examined the amount of redistribution through the tax system across Europe as well as who are the main beneficiaries of such redistribution. It uses the Net Benefit Ratio (net benefits of all households relative to disposable income) as its main metric.

The results are the subject of our July chart of the month.


– Overall, the UK redistributes somewhat less than some other countries (like France and Italy) and somewhat more than others (like the Netherlands) as indicated by the size of the circles in the chart

– In common with countries like the Netherlands and Denmark and in contrast to France, Italy, Spain and Germany, more of the redistribution goes to low income households than goes to pensioners

The amount of redistribution that goes to low income households compared to pensioners is highest in the UK relative to other countries examined.

Perhaps it may be time to rethink our perceptions?

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Radix is the radical centre think tank. We welcome all contributions which promote system change, challenge established notions and re-imagine our societies. The views expressed here are those of the individual contributor and not necessarily shared by Radix.

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