PUBLIC expenditure on social protection - including pensions and health care, as well as benefits and social services - fell in the UK and the European Union between 1996 and 1999, having risen quite sharply in the first years of the 1990's, a report from Eurostat, the EU's statistical agency has claimed.

Across the EU, social spending accounted for 27.6 per cent of GDP in 1999 and 1998. This followed an increase from 25.5 per cent in 1990 to 28.8 per cent in 1993. In the UK, these trends were mirrored, but with ...

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