The modern welfare state is not able to deliver its services equitably, partly due to the inherent problem that the provision of social services creates the demand for them. Therefore social services to the aged, the disabled, to parentless children, to the sick, to the handicapped, to the unemployed and others, are overwhelmed by applicants' numbers. In addition, there are the inevitable bureaucratic inefficiencies that create distortions and slowdowns in the distribution of services. Other factors of a sinister, if not criminal, nature are corruption among civil servants, and discrimination against applicants based on ethnicity, language, age, religion, political party, gender or other bases. Government policy may also be to erode public welfare in order to save money for militarization.
It is reckoned that there have been more than 50 changes in benefits for the unemployed in the UK over the decade up to 1993, with the cuts generally larger for those on the lowest incomes. The real value of the unemployment benefit for a married couple with two children had fallen by nearly 20% between 1979 and 1990. Benefit has been withdrawn from 16 and 17-year olds and income support for 18-25 year olds reduced.