Daily Management Review

Large Section Of Citizens Unhappy With Public Services & Benefits: OECD Survey


Large Section Of Citizens Unhappy With Public Services & Benefits: OECD Survey
A new OECD survey, “Risks that Matter”, has revealed that there is not enough public services and social benefits and they are also inaccessible, many people in the OECD countries believe. And compared to the taxes that they pay, about half of the people surveyed complained that they do not get their fair share of benefits, the report claimed. And about two-thirds of the respondents were of the opinion that they are deprived of such services while other get more than they deserve. Almost a quarter of the respondents said that their governments need to do more for them in order to protect their social and economic security. 
The survey, aimed at uncovering people’s worries and concerns and how well they believe their social and economic risks is tackled by their governments, included interviewing 22,000 people aged 18 to 70 years old in 21 countries.
The survey also found that the top immediate concern among people in the OECD countries is their fear that they would not be able to meet end if they fall sick and are unable to work. This fear was found to be common among people belonging to the low income groups and among people in countries that had been hit hard by the global financial crisis. Health is the most important concern for older people while securing adequate housing is amongst the top concerns of the younger people. The survey also found that the most commonly cited worry among people across all countries in terms of the longer life period is worry of getting by in old age.
Dissatisfaction with current social policy was also revealed in the survey. The current access to services like health care, housing, and long-term care could only satisfy a minority of the respondents. There were a large section of people who were confident that their governments would not be able to provide them relief or an appropriate safety net if they lost their livelihood because of job loss, illness or old age. Over half of the respondents opined their belief about them not being able to access public benefits easily in times of need.
“This is a wake-up call for policy makers,” said OECD Secretary-General Angel 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. 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 belief that the views of people, such as those of the respondents, are not considered by most governments while making social policy, was shared by respondents in all of the countries surveyed except Canada, Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands. This number of people is over two-thirds of respondents in a number of countries such as Greece, Israel, Lithuania, Portugal and Slovenia. In case of higher levels of education and income among the respondents, this sense of not being part of the policy debate increases. On the other hand, those households that have a relatively higher income have greater developed sense of being meted out injustice.