Skip to main content

OECD Disability Spend

Volume 573: debated on Monday 13 January 2014

The most recent OECD figures, from 2009, show that the United Kingdom spent 2.4% of its gross domestic product on benefits for people with disabilities. According to UK figures for 2012-13, we are spending about £50 billion a year on such benefits.

Can the Minister explain how that money is being used to help disabled people in my constituency to lead full and independent lives?

The reason we are spending so much money is that we want to ensure that people with disabilities or other long-term conditions can lead lives that are as fulfilling as possible, and, if they are able to do so, enter the workplace. Much of the money is spent on the Access to Work scheme, which has proved very successful. It is interesting that not many Opposition Members seem to approve of the £50 billion that the Government are spending.

Ministers have been taking a pick-and-mix approach to the OECD figures, claiming that the United Kingdom is a top spender on disability-related benefits while referring to only one indicator rather than to total incapacity-related benefit spending. Is it not time that they came clean? Will the Minister now admit that disabled people are bearing the brunt of the Government’s welfare reforms?

We do not “pick and mix” at all. Those who look carefully at the figures will see that Germany spends roughly half the amount that we spend in relation to GDP. If the hon. Lady thinks that we should spend more, that will mean another spending commitment from the Opposition.