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Welfare Reform on the Web (January 2009): Welfare state - UK

Criminalising social policy: anti-social behaviour and welfare in a de-civilised society

J. Rodger

Cullompton: Willan, 2008

Recent legislative and policy developments in contemporary Britain have ushered in a new approach to criminal justice. The focus on criminal dispositions and welfarism has given way to a strategy which now involves the management of social exclusion, dysfunctional and anti-social families and situational crime prevention, leading to what has been widely characterized as the 'criminalisation of social policy' - and evidenced most recently by the anti-social behaviour and respect agendas. This book explores and analyses these developments and seeks at the same time to situate the study of anti-social behaviour and response to it in the wider context of changes in the industrial and social structure, social polarization and inequality and the changing role of the welfare state in present-day society. It explores in particular the connections between the decline in support for welfarism in high crime cultures, the emergence of de-civilising tendencies through social exclusionary policies and the problem of delinquency and anti-social behaviour. Popular support for 'tough' rather than 'welfarist' policies to deal with criminality is not just a matter of a growing fear of crime throughout the population, but is bound up rather with the emotional consequences of social polarization, declining functional interdependence and the effects of market oriented social policies.

Energy efficiency and fuel poverty

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee

London: TSO, 2008 (House of Commons papers, session 2007/08: HC 1099)

On 3 October the Prime Minister created a new Department of Energy and Climate Change. Among the responsibilities of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) that passed to the new Department was fuel poverty. A new select committee will be set up to examine the expenditure, policy and administration of the new Department. It may be that the new committee will wish to examine fuel poverty and related matters such as energy pricing, energy efficiency programmes and the energy market. The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee have therefore decided to publish the memoranda they have received so far. Government data shows that in 2006 there were 3.5 million UK households in fuel poverty but fuel price rises since have led to estimates of 4 million households being in fuel poverty in England alone, an increase from 1.2 million in 2004, with 80% of these households estimated to be vulnerable. The dramatic rise in the number of people living in fuel poverty means that the Government's targets that, as far as is reasonably practicable, by 22 November 2016 no person in England should have to live in fuel poverty, and that it will seek an end to fuel poverty in vulnerable households by 2010, are in great danger of not being achieved. This special report recommends that the new select committee seriously consider holding an inquiry into fuel poverty at the earliest opportunity.

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