A quick chart on social spending on Active Labour Market Programmes among OECD countries (data from OECD SOCX). As you can see, the UK spends a lot less on this type of programme than most of its nearest geographical neighbours and is well below the OECD average.

Why mention this? Well, in the context of yet another media debate on 'welfare' I just tweeted that the UK benefits system for people of working age strongly prioritises employment (about half of the expenditure is on in-work benefits, out of work benefits are stingy and there's a lot of conditionality). As long as we're only looking at the benefits system, that's true enough. But if we see active support for people looking for work, often with employment disadvantages, as an important part of social security, there is one sense in which the UK hasn't given much priority to employment.