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The changing composition of public spending

Rowena Crawford and Paul Johnson
Briefing note

This analysis finds that the shape of the state today is very different from that of 30 years ago. Going forward, spending on health, pensions and long term care is set to rise fast. Just these elements of spending, excluding all the welfare benefits paid to non-pensioners, will reach half of all public spending over the next 50 years unless there is significant reform or unless total spending is significantly increased.

Figure: Composition of public service spending 1978/79 – 2014/15

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As a proportion of the total, health has nearly doubled from 10% to 18% of spending.