Public, media, and government discussions on welfare are dominated by the notion that the population is divided into those who benefit from the welfare state and those who pay into it, despite the evidence painting a rather different picture. John Hills draws on the revised edition of his book Good Times, Bad Times to explain some of the implications of this welfare myth.
The last two years have been ones of momentous political change. In the UK, this included not least the election of a majority Conservative government led by David Cameron in May 2015, the result of the Brexit referendum, and the subsequent appointment of Theresa May as Prime Minister.
But some things remain the same. One is how ‘welfare’ is discussed, with the British political debate framed around the idea that our population can be divided into two groups – those who pay in, and those who pay out. This was a theme for former Chancellor George Osborne when in office, but also appears to shape the new Prime Minister’s thinking.