UK government spending on pensioners will be 19% higher by the end of the decade, widening a gap in welfare provision, according to an investigation by a think tank.
Ahead of the government's spending review on 25 November, the Resolution Foundation said while spending on pensioners would go up, the average amount per head for children would fall by 12% and 9% for working-age adults.
Based on a report that examines how the state achieves deficit reduction through spending cuts, the share of overall state spending on old age and health is set to reach 43% by 2020. The figure is more than twice that allocated to education (13.4%) and economic development (5.8%) combined by the end of the parliament.
The foundation also stated that by the end of this decade pensioner benefits would account for more than half of all welfare spending and this was despite the increases in the state pension age since 2010, culminating in 66 years for men and women in 2020.
The think tank highlighted that continued demographic changes after 2020 would be likely to exacerbate the shift in welfare spending towards pensioners.
Matt Whittaker, chief economist at the Resolution Foundation, said: "The focus on spending cuts as the driver of deficit reduction, combined with protections for areas such as health and pensioner benefits, has created a big shift in state support towards older people and away from children and young adults.
"This relative growth of state spending on health and old age - and withdrawal from areas such as post-16 education, housing and economic development - also raises big questions about the state's role in supporting productivity growth."