Journal of Social Policy

Does the UK Have a Private Welfare Class?

a1 Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, London School of Economics and Department of Economics, University of Bristol


The use of private welfare services in the UK has risen. But relatively little is known about the patterns of use of private welfare services. This article investigates whether there is a private welfare class, and how attitudes to welfare state spending are linked to use of private services. It finds that there is considerable use of the private sector, but the size of the group consistently using a range of private welfare services is small. Changes in attitudes to public financing of welfare spending do not appear to be directly linked to use of private services.


1 We are very grateful to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation who funded this research and to the Data Archive at Essex University who supplied BHPS and BSAS data. The facts presented and views expressed are, however, those of the authors and not necessarily of the Foundation or of the Archive. Thanks are due to John Hills, and to members of our Advisory Group, for helpful comments on earlier drafts.