OECD countries want their ‘fair share of benefits’

21 Mar 19

More than half of people in developed countries believe their governments should tax the rich more to fund public services and benefits, an OECD survey has revealed.

The survey found that many people in OECD countries believe public services and social benefits are “inadequate” and “hard to reach”, the Paris-based organisation said today.

More than half of the 22,000 people surveyed said they do not receive their “fair share of benefits” given the taxes they pay, and two-thirds believe other people in the society get “more than they deserve”.

It found that more than 50% of people wanted their governments to tax the rich more to better fund the public sector and boost social security.

In Greece, Germany, Portugal and Slovenia, this rose to 75% of respondents.

“This is a wake-up call for policymakers,” said OECD secretary-general José Ángel Gurría.

“OECD countries have some of the most advanced and generous social protection systems in the world. They spend, on average, more than one-fifth of their GDP on social policies.

“Yet, too many people feel they cannot count fully on their government when they need help.”

The survey also found that nearly three out of four people wanted their governments to do more to “protect their social and economic security”, including through better public services and benefits.

Only a minority of people were satisfied with access to services, like healthcare, housing and long-term care, the OECD said.

Many didn’t believe their governments would be able to provide income protection in cases of job loss, illness or old age. More than half said they would not be able to “easily access public benefits”.

Gurría said: “A better understanding of the factors driving this perception and why people feel they are struggling is essential to making social protection more effective and efficient.

“We must restore trust and confidence in government and promote equality of opportunity.”

The survey, Risks that Matter, asked over 22,000 people aged between 18 and 70 years old in 21 OECD countries about how they think their governments help them tackle social and economic risks.  

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