Citizens of a dozen EU states rate social services higher than in UK.

    Nearly half of European Union countries have higher quality
    social services than the UK, delegates to the annual European
    social services conference in Dublin were told last week.

    Research by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living
    and Working Conditions finds that 12 of the 25 EU countries
    received a higher score than the UK for the quality of their social

    UK citizens gave social services a score of 5.8 out of 10. This
    compares with the top scorer Austria, whose residents gave its
    social services 7.6 out of 10.

    Most countries rated their health services higher than their social
    services. But in the Irish Republic the reverse was true.

    The study was carried out last summer and covered about 1,000
    over-18s in each of the EU states and the 10 which acceded last

    It also finds that unemployed people gave social services a lower
    rating than those who were employed or still studying.

    Unemployed people in the new member states gave social services
    only 3.7 out of 10 compared with an average rating of 4.5 out of 10
    from those in employment.

    “Unemployed people in the new member states – who might be expected
    to make substantial use of social services – appear relatively
    poorly served,” the study says.

    Other findings show that more than one-third of people on the
    lowest incomes in the new member states have a long-standing
    illness or disability compared with a quarter of those in other EU

    For older people, the difference between the new and old member
    states is even greater. Two-thirds of those aged 65 and over in the
    new member states have a long-standing illness or disability
    compared with just over one-third of those in the rest of the

    “There is a great deal to be done to increase confidence of
    citizens in the quality of their health and social services,” the
    study says.

    The European Quality of Life Survey from


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