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Social Policy Review 30Analysis and Debate in Social Policy, 2018$
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Catherine Needham, Elke Heins, and James Rees

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781447349990

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447349990.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM POLICY PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.policypress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Policy Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PPSO for personal use.date: 02 April 2020

Fiscal welfare and its contribution to inequality

Fiscal welfare and its contribution to inequality

Chapter:
(p.91) Five Fiscal welfare and its contribution to inequality
Source:
Social Policy Review 30
Author(s):

Adrian Sinfield

, Catherine Needham, Elke Heins, James Rees
Publisher:
Policy Press
DOI:10.1332/policypress/9781447349990.003.0005

The tax reliefs and related subsidies of fiscal welfare contribute significantly but virtually invisibly to maintaining and reinforcing inequality. This chapter examines their support to occupational and personal pensions, the largest area of social spending through the tax and National Insurance systems. The benefits go to less than half the working-age population and disproportionately to those paying higher rates of tax, their employers and the pensions industry. It is a major example of ‘means-enhancing’ redistribution as opposed to the means-testing of much welfare state provision. The particular and considerable value of National Insurance exemptions deserves far more attention than government or independent analysts have given it. Official statistics need to integrate fiscal with public spending and include the impact of fiscal welfare in their distributional analyses. Democratic policymaking needs to take account of it in tackling and reducing inequality across the whole society.

Keywords:   fiscal welfare, inequality, pensions, taxation, national insurance

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