The Council of Europe considers Britain's benefits 'manifestly inadequate'

The Council of Europe has published its most recent report reviewing the conformity of the United Kingdom with  the European Social Charter.   (This is not a document from the European Union; the Council of Europe is an older organisation, established in 1949 to protect the rights of people throughout Europe.)  In the section covering  “the right to social security”, The report concludes

that the situation in United Kingdom is not in conformity with Article 12§1 of the Charter on the ground that:

  • the  minimum  levels  of  short-term  and  long-term  incapacity  benefit  is  manifestly inadequate;
  • the minimum level of state pension is manifestly inadequate;
  • the minimum level of job seeker’s allowance is manifestly inadequate.

They are right, of course;  provision in the UK is exceptionally low, it has been falling as a proportion of national income for several years, and many of the guarantees that used to underpin the system have been jettisoned.  That hasn’t stopped the press and the Conservative backbenches from exploding.

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