David Green, 1 October 2004
Tony Blair’s illness is a reminder that old-Labour collectivism could easy re-assert itself under a different leader. One of the dominant trends under Gordon Brown has been the increasing use of means-tested benefits. In 1951 only 3% of the population relied on the old national assistance and unemployment benefit. Today about 22% of households of working age receive half or more of their income from the state.
Gordon Brown’s contribution: Despite a huge fall in unemployment, there were 240,000 more people on benefits and welfare tax credits in 2003 (6,383,000) than in 1997 (6,143,000).