HC Deb 18 February 1985 vol 73 cc395-6W
Mr. Dixon

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what percentage of the United Kingdom Government spending goes to paying for pensions for retired persons; and how this compares with other European Economic Community countries.

Mr. Whitney

[pursuant to his reply, 8 February 1985, c. 732]: Comparative information for member states of the European Community are not available in the precise form requested. However, harmonised comparative statistics are published by the European Community as part of the European system of integrated social protection statistics. The Eurostat publication "Social Indicators for the European Community: 1984" includes comparative statistics for both gross domestic product at market prices and the relative expenditure of the old age programme within social protection expenditure.

A full definition of the old age programme is in paragraphs 520–522 of the Eurostat publication "European System of Integrated Social Protection Statistics (ESSPROS): Methodology — Part I: 1981". It is not synonymous with state retirement pensions but also includes the cost of private and occupational pensions and cash payments to the elderly, the cost of staying in old peoples or nursing homes, early retirement payments and a range of local authority services such as home helps or benefits in kind; it does not include the expenditure on medical care for old people or increases in pensions for dependants. The table indicates for member states the proportion of gross domestic product at market prices allocated to the old age programme at 1981.

European Community: expenditure on programmes for old age as a proportion of gross domestic product at market prices: 1981
Country Percentage
West Germany 8.6
France 9.4
Italy 8.4
Netherlands 8.7
Belgium 7.5
Luxembourg 8.0
United Kingdom 9.4
Ireland 6.0
Denmark 10.6
Average of the nine countries 8.9


Tables VII-12 and VII-13: Social Indicators for the European Community: Eurostat 1984.