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Public sector spending tops 50% of GDP

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Higher public spending has taken the overall total to more than 50% of the country’s gross earnings for the first time

Public spending last year made up 52% of all the money created in this country, official figures from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) reveal.

When Labour came to power in 1997, the state’s share of the gross domestic product was 40%.

The OECD has forecast that the 52% figure could increase over the next two years as more Britons become reliant on the welfare state, due to unemployment, illness or retirement.

Only a few developed countries, such as France and Sweden, now have a higher rate of public spending. The figures do not include the costs of part-nationalising failing banks - which could push the levels close to that of communist countries.

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