Research by RIFT Tax Refunds has revealed that while the UK Government spends the equivalent of almost 52% of GDP a year on delivering public goods, services and providing social protection, it ranks just 11th of all OECD nations where this level of investment is concerned.
From health to defence and environmental protection, governments around the world are tasked with finding the right balance when it comes to how they allocate the much needed financial support they provide to the population.
Within the UK this annual spend is substantial, to say the least, equating to 51.5% of the nation’s GDP. Based on the latest GDP figures, Rift Tax Refunds estimates that on an annual basis, current government spend for the UK comes in at well over £1.92trn per year.
The highest proportion of this spend is allocated to social protection, tackling issues such as poverty and unemployment, with £380.9bn spent on addressing these issues on an annual basis.
A further £227.3bn is spent on the provision of healthcare, with economic affairs (£190.5bn), education (£125.9bn) and general public services (£122bn) also benefiting from government spending to the greatest extent.
Across the UK, recreation, culture and religion receive the lowest level of government spending, receiving just £15.3bn on an annual basis, with environmental protection (£16.6bn) and housing and community amenities (£18bn) also receiving some of the lowest levels of government spending.
But how does the UK compare to the rest of the world?
RIFT Tax Refunds also looked at the annual spend of the UK Government in relation to other OECD nations.
The research shows that where government spending as a percentage of total GDP is concerned, the UK ranks just 11th in the table. However, when it comes to the sheer amount of money spent, the UK’s higher GDP value does push it to fifth in the rankings.
When breaking this international spend comparison down by sector, the UK ranks highest where government spending on defence is concerned. In fact, the UK’s total estimated spend of £49.3bn per year is second only to the United States, where an eye watering £595.8bn is spent on defence each year.
The UK spends the third largest sum of all OECD nations on both public order and safety and economic affairs. It also ranks fourth for the total sum of government spending in relation to environmental protection, housing communities and amenities, health, recreation culture and religion and education.
Finally, the UK ranks sixth overall for the level of money spent on general public services, the lowest ranking of all areas of government spending. Perhaps more worrying is the fact that the UK also ranks just sixth on the international stage where the most important area of government spending is concerned – social protection.
CEO of RIFT Tax Refunds, Bradley Post said, “The government allocates some eye watering sums into the fundamental areas of society that not only protect us and the environment around us, but also improve our quality of living.
It’s certainly a juggling act and one that will never please the entire population regardless of what changes are made, but we’re lucky to live in a society where social protection, health care and education are the areas that benefit most from government spending.
Of course, some may argue that with the nation in the grip of a housing crisis and with the damage being done to the environment, government spending could well be increased to help tackle these modern day issues.”