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

Coming to the crunch

P. Gosling

Public Finance, Oct. 17th -23rd 2008, p. 20-21

This article considers the implications of the global financial crisis for local authorities. Councils have lost out severely from the collapse of the Icelandic banks, and have also been hit by rising food and fuel costs, coupled with reduced income and capital receipts. The crisis will impact on social housing provision, PFI schemes, and social care, where many services are now run by heavily indebted private equity companies.

Departments face 'eye-watering' squeeze

N. Timmins

Financial Times, Nov. 25th 2008, p. 8

The Pre-Budget Report includes measures to significantly cut public spending by central government departments from 2010. Health and education will face much lower increases than they have received in recent years.

Living in dangerous times: fear, insecurity, risk and social policy

D. Denney

Social Policy and Administration, vol. 42, 2008, p. 557-713

Insecurity, fear and risk have come to dominate individual and collective consciousness in the twenty-first century. People live in fear of imminent mass destruction and personal catastrophe. This special issue examines how such thinking is reflected in social policy development. Two central themes run through the contributions:

  • Policies are built around the idea of public resilience, while at the same time promoting notions of public vulnerability. These themes are traced in relation to child protection work, zero tolerance of violence towards healthcare workers, offender management, and attitudes to financial risk and insecurity.
  • The perceived erosion of social securities gives rise to policies which promote social exclusivity and the strengthening of boundaries, often at the expense of human rights.

Refusal, social exclusion and the cycle of rejection: a cynical analysis?

C. Scanlon and J. Adlam

Critical Social Policy, vol.28, 2008, p. 529-549

Despite considerable attention over recent years being addressed to the problems of the socially excluded, there remain people who, despite the best efforts of professionals, steadfastly refuse to play the game and 'come in from the cold'. All mental health and social policy directives that envisage a future where all such people will be socially included involve a stubborn refusal to admit to the complexity of their problems and to the part society plays in perpetuating the problems it seeks to alleviate. Such policies are setting up both socially excluded people, and the workers charged with trying to reach out to them, to fail.

Social policy: themes and approaches. Revised 2nd ed.

P. Spicker

Bristol: Policy Press, 2008

The book provides a thematic introduction to the concepts underlying the provision of social welfare and the processes by which welfare is organised and delivered. It provides a sense of the scope, range and purpose of the subject while developing critical awareness of problems, issues and common fallacies. Divided into four parts, it explains what social policy is and why it matters; looks at social policy in its social context, including social structures, problems and needs; considers policy, the role of the state and the social services; looks at social administration and service delivery; and focuses on the methods and approaches of the subject, discussing the application of theory to practice, research and policy analysis.

The solution is welfare reform

C. Bambra

Health Service Journal, Oct. 30th 2008, p. 16

Across Europe, people from lower social classes tend to die younger and experience more ill health than their wealthier peers. Social class inequality is a fundamental feature of all capitalist economies, but can be mitigated by social welfare provision and income redistribution. UK governments over the past 30 years have pursued policies of welfare state retrenchment, leading to England having the worst health inequalities in Europe.

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