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Welfare Reform on the Web (November 2008): Welfare state - UK

Brown defends borrowing as Tories try to leverage '64bn question'

G. Parker

Financial Times, Oct. 21st 2008, p. 3

The Prime Minister told the Commons on 20 October that increasing public borrowing is 'the right policy' during the recession. The Government is preparing for a bumpy political ride. Provisional figures show that as at September, the public sector had a current budget deficit of 5.9bn and net debt, including Northern Rock, of 645.3bn or 43.4% of GDP. Includes full colour chart showing government expenditure and revenues from 1945 to date, which shows current spending is less now than in the recession of the early 1980s.

Cancer patients to have free drugs in Brown's NHS Plan

R. Winnett and R. Smith

Daily Telegraph, Sept. 24th 2008, p. 4

Gordon Brown announced plans at the 2008 Labour Party conference to give people with long term illnesses such as cancer free prescription drugs. Brown also promised free health check-ups for anyone over 40, the development of new plans to help older people requiring nursing care to remain in their homes, free nursery school places for all two-year-olds, free Internet access for poorer families, personalised 'catch-up' tuition for pupils falling behind at school, and legislation to compel the government to cut child poverty.

Has there been a decline in values in British society ?

A. Browne

Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2008 (Social evils)

Argues that social protection and human rights laws have led people to believe that they have an inalienable right to free health care and protection from discrimination and punishment. At the same time, the safety net has made people abandon their duties to get a job, care for their children properly or look after elderly relatives. People now are dependent on the state to look after them, rather than regarding state support as a last resort.

Information-sharing and confidentiality in social policy: regulating multi-agency working

C. Bellamy and others

Public Administration, vol.86, 2008, p. 737-759

Increased sharing of personal information about clients, patients and offenders has come to be regarded as critically important to joined up approaches to social policy. Willingness and capacity to share information between local agencies responsible for service delivery is seen as the sine qua non of effective management of cases, the efficient use of resources and the prevention of unacceptable outcomes. However research indicates that there are still many cases where information is not shared when it should be, or where it is shared when it should not be, with potentially devastating results. This article reports a study of information-sharing practices in multi-agency arrangements in four policy areas where multi-agency working has been strongly promoted by central government.

Our lives, our choices: for the future: a new vision for adult social cure and support

Local Government Association,

2008

This report proposes a single source of support for older and disabled people, drawing together social care, housing support, health services and benefit funding. The system would be administered by local authorities and would minimise the bureaucracy currently involved in accessing services and benefits. It is recommended that a single means test would automatically trigger receipt of related benefits, including disability living allowance and attendance allowance.

Partnership working towards achieving national outcomes: the Scottish and English experiences

I. Freeman

Journal of Integrated Care, vol. 16, Oct 2008, p. 14-17

In England Local Area Agreements were introduced in 2004. They set out priorities for a local area and are agreed between central government, local authorities and other key partners in the area. They cover four policy areas: children and young people; safer communities; healthier communities; and economic development and enterprise. Single outcome agreements have been a more recent innovation in Scotland. These are created between each council and the Scottish government, based on 15 key national objectives which contribute to the Government's strategic objectives. Councils are thus committed to supporting progress at the national level by seeking local improvements. This article compares the English and Scottish approaches.

Public sector debt could rival postwar levels

V. Houlder

Financial Times, Oct. 14th 2008, p. 5

Economists have predicted that public sector debt could reach levels not seen since the late 1940s, as the liabilities of banks are taken onto the public sector net debt.

Real pain of cuts to be felt after election

N. Timmins

Financial Times, Oct. 21st 2008, p. 2

Chancellor Alasdair Darling has made it clear he won't be cutting public spending while the economy is in recession, but this article, based on analysis by head of public services at KMPG, Alan Downey, and Ray Barrell, a research fellow at NIESR, suggests that cuts will be made after 2010, following the next general election. Includes useful figures for cuts in central government department budgets for 2009-2010.

Unkind, risk averse and untrusting - if this is today's society, can we change it?

J. Neuberger

Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2008 (Social evils)

Argues that widespread fear of sexual predators and the burden of red tape are putting people off working with children. As a result, common kindness and the idea that people should look after each other have become unfashionable, leaving individuals free to focus on their own needs. Society also tolerates high levels of abuse and neglect of older people, and turns its back on those with mental health problems. The author warns that society will disintegrate unless people learn to trust each other.

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