Belgium most even redistributor of income
The daily De Standaard today publishes figures claiming to show that of all European countries it is in Belgium that available income is redistributed most evenly.
The paper bases its claim on a survey of tax returns and other European data analysed by the University of Essex.
The figures come from research from the University of Essex in the UK.
Income inequality in Belgium is as high as in France before any corrections occur, but after what are dubbed social corrections and high taxes on high earners income is redistributed far more evenly.
The study notes that the Belgian tax system uses a progressive approach with higher earners paying more tax.
As a result average incomes are far closer to one another.
In addition social transfers like child allowance and unemployment benefit ensure that low incomes get a boost.
The Essex researchers say that the social transfers have a greater impact than income tax.
The figures show that Belgium's highest earners pay the lion's share of the country's taxes: the highest-earning ten percent paid 45.89 percent of the total amount raised in income tax in 2011.
Antwerp University's Ive Marx says that the English research shows that the Belgian welfare state works.
In this European study Belgium performs les well when it comes to poverty.
Ive Marx: "We're in the middle of the peloton. Child poverty is an issue and people who have to get by on benefit alone have a hard time."
Nordic countries perform a lot better. Ive Marx: "Labour markets function better in Nordic countries. There is low unemployment and that's a good base on which to start. Efforts to combat poverty are deployed more effectively. Belgium would do good to concentrate on the lower echelons of society."
Flandersnews.be / Expatica