Question Jenny Politics & International Relations

The welfare state in the UK & Germany

What are the differences between the United Kingdom's and Germany's welfare states?

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Answer Internal Staff

The key differences between the liberal welfare state of the UK and the conservative welfare state of Germany are as follows:

The UK’s welfare state focuses on five key services, which are free health care, free education, affordable housing, cash benefits to those on low income, and the social services. Germany offers a similar welfare service; however instead of providing free health care they supply health care insurance and long term care insurance, and instead of offering cash benefits to those on low income, unemployment insurance is provided. The way the two countries fund their respective welfare states are also different: the UK fund their services through general tax and national insurance with the percentage paid varying depending on income, whereas in Germany all contributions are paid by a fixed percentage of income and every employee’s input is matched by their employer’s. All welfare state insurances are obligatory in Germany, as they are in the UK. One major issue with the UK system is the low level of some benefits - for example Jobseeker’s Allowance only equates to approximately 15% of the average UK salary, whereas in Germany claimants of unemployment benefit will receive 60% of their previous salary for while searching for a new job.