More than £1.4 trillion has been spent on welfare payments since the turn of the century, the equivalent of every single person in the country paying out £22,500.
The staggering sum – which includes state pensions, disability support and jobless benefits – is close to all the money made by Britain’s economy in a single year.
Benefits spending has nearly doubled over the past decade to reach £157 billion last year, more than is spent on health and transport combined.
Official figures show the Isle of Wight as the unlikely welfare capital of Britain because of its many retirees. But when payments made to the elderly are excluded Liverpool is the country’s benefits hotspot.
Ruth Porter, communications director at the Institute of Economic Affairs, said: ‘These figures are startling. They show throwing more money at poverty isn’t the answer.’
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