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

Building Britain's future

Prime Minister

London: TSO, 2009 (Cm 7654)

This strategy document proposes increased spending on public services in spite of the recession and the growth of the national debt. It presents plans for increased investment in social housing, and promises that local people and those who have been waiting longest will be given priority over immigrants on council housing lists. It also proposes replacing centrally imposed targets with a series of entitlements for citizens. Patients will be given a legal right to hospital care with 18 weeks, along with check-ups for the over-40s and guaranteed access to cancer treatments. Parents will receive a statement telling them what they can demand from their child's school. Benefits will be withdrawn from those under 25 who refuse to accept a job, work experience or training if they have been unemployed for more than a year.

Inside the welfare state: foundations of policy and practice in post-war Britain

V. Noble

Abingdon: Routledge, 2009

By moving beyond consideration of the welfare legislation enacted in the 1940s, this book explains how government aid was actually provided in the new British welfare state created just after World War II. Revealing dimensions of social policy that have been neglected by scholars, this study uncovers the practices of the officials who decided how welfare would be distributed. Between 1945 and 1965, social policy was in a state of flux, as officials sought to reconcile the new welfare state's message of unqualified inclusion with deeply ingrained norms that militated against providing state aid to working-age men, to women who had even a tenuous connection to a male wage-earner, or to black and Asian immigrants who lacked an authentic 'British' identity. Fusing the rationales of the poor law and the technologies of the modern bureaucratic state, various government branches tried to shape the behaviour and attitudes of those seeking benefits. These mechanisms of welfare distribution created a bureaucratic language and logic that foreshadowed the more publicised, politicised anxieties that would surface as the welfare state itself came under attack later in the 20th century.

Social policy in the devolved Scotland: towards a Scottish welfare state

G. Mooney and S. Wright (editors)

Social Policy and Society, vol. 8, 2009, p. 361-365

This themed section reflects on the first decade of devolved government in Scotland. Reflection inspires a rethink of some of the basic working assumptions of social policy analysis, such as the extent to which the notion of a UK welfare state remains meaningful. This themed section provides an opportunity to consider the impact of devolution on broader understandings of polity, policy and practice as well as pointing to further possible divergences in and across the UK. These are explored in relation to key areas of social welfare intervention in Scotland, focusing particularly on poverty, inequality and social justice; immigration and the experiences of labour migrants in rural areas; the use of private finance; and key literature and useful sources.

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