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Eight out of ten Danes receive state money: report

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Eight out of ten Danes receive state money: report
Photo: Iris/Scanpix
11:06 CEST+02:00
A large majority of Danes over 18 years old receive some form of financial support from the state, a new report has revealed.

The state support can take the form of child support, student grants, welfare or state pension, writes newspaper Jyllands-Posten.

Fiscal conservative party Liberal Alliance called the country’s social welfare system “a monster” in light of the report, while the Social Democrats said their aim was equal opportunities for all Danes.

Almost 3.5 million people in Denmark received something of the 300 billion kroner (40 billion euros) paid by the state and municipalities to citizens in 2015, according to an analysis by the Cepos thinktank, which used data from Statistics Denmark.

78.6 percent of all Danes therefore received at least one state payment during the year, according to the report.

Political spokesperson Jacob Ellemann-Essen of the governing Venstre (Liberal) party said that the figures were too high.

“Many of the benefit payments are fine, but it would be better if fewer were dependent on money from society,” Ellemann-Jessen told Jyllands-Posten.

The number of people outside of the jobs market has fallen in recent years, according to the report.

But an increased number of people receiving payments such as the state grant for students (statens uddannelsesstøtte, SU) or housing support (boligstøtte) has increased, so the total proportion of people receiving one state payment or more throughout the year has remained relatively stable, the analysis shows.

Liberal Alliance’s finance spokesperson Joachim B. Olsen, was highly critical of the figures provided by the report.

“We’ve created a monster. In the 1960s, when the expansion of the social welfare state started to gather momentum, if you asked even Social Democrats whether this was the aim, I’m sure they’d have shaken their heads,” Olsen told Jyllands-Posten.

The acting spokesperson for the Social Democrats said she was not surprised at the number of citizens receiving state support.

“We have developed a universal welfare model, in which 90 percent pay for 90 percent of the population. But that is not the goal in itself,” Christine Antorini told the newspaper.

“The goal is equal opportunities. All social welfare along with the taxation system is the system we use to redistribute money to ensure that,” she continued.

Conservative commentators consider the current structure to be bureaucratic and expensive, while others believe it is a necessity to maintain support for Denmark’s welfare system, writes Jyllands-Posten.

READ ALSO: Number of poor people in Denmark 'doubled' since 2002: report

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