Social Protection

Social protection encompasses the help provided to those in need or at risk of hardship through the provision of financial assistance and services. Central government departments are responsible for administering the majority of social security benefits. These include payments relating to unemployment, disability allowances, state retirement pension and pension credit. The value of all benefits was around £1,152 million in 2015/16. The State Pension is the single largest item of expenditure, followed by Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit (see chart below).

Spending on specific benefits is influenced in different ways. The value of unemployment benefits can be affected by the economic cycle, while the value of State Pension payments is being affected by demographic changes (see chart below).