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Welfare Reform on the Web (January 2010): Welfare state - UK

Carers caught in a club sandwich

J. Woods

Daily Telegraph, Dec.9th 2009, p. 31

Highlights the most recent government figures showing that almost one million people are caring for both young children and elderly relations. It argues that the true figure is likely to be much higher as a result of the recession forcing more women out to work, while grandparents are often left to look after both their grandchildren and their own parents. Grandparents are being asked to look after grandchildren by working parents seeking to save money on childcare. The report recommends that all employees should be entitled to paid leave to care for a dependant and that flexible working should be available to all staff.

Delivering public sector transformation: building the strategic relationship between housing, health and care

S. Davis and J. Porteus

Housing, Care and Support, vol. 12, Oct. 2009, p. 12-16

The UK government's personalisation agenda for public service delivery requires professionals in different sectors to break out of their silos and work together. The three sectors of housing, health and social care need to work together at every stage of the processes of evidence gathering and analysis, development of strategy and consequent action planning, commissioning, and monitoring and evaluation of services. This needs to be done in partnership not only with each other but also with providers and with individuals and communities.

Disciplining difference

J Nixon and D. Prior (guest editors)

Social Policy and Society, vol.9, 2010, p. 71-153

Addressing antisocial behaviour has been a policy priority for New Labour since it came to power in 1997. This is reflected in a series of legislative powers enabling a range of agencies to take legal action to tackle antisocial behaviour (ASB). The powers granted to these agencies give them a range of new tools for social control through the criminal justice system. This themed section looks at how ASB powers are being used to regulate the conduct of a range of vulnerable groups, including street sex workers, social housing tenants with mental health problems, and Muslims as well as dysfunctional families.

Securing the recovery: growth and opportunity: pre-budget report December 2009

Treasury

London: TSO, 2009 (Cm 7747)

From a welfare reform point of view, the 2009 pre-budget report proposes that:

  • National insurance contributions will rise by 0.5% from April 2011, raising 3bn a year
  • State contributions to the pensions of public sector workers would be capped by 2012, bringing these broadly into line with occupational schemes offered by the private sector. Moreover, those earning more than 130,000 a year will lose tax relief on private pension contributions.
  • Young unemployed people under 24 will be guaranteed access to work or training after six months out of a job.
  • Child and disability benefits will rise by 1.5% in April 2010; the basic state pension will rise by 2.5% at the same time
  • Free school meals will be extended to an extra 500,000 children from low-income working families.
  • Investment in the NHS IT programme will be cut

(For comment see Daily Telegraph, Dec.11th 2009, p.4)

Real cost of Darling's spending squeeze is laid bare

J. Kirkup

Daily Telegraph, Dec. 11th 2009, p. 1 + 2

Following the2009 Pre-budget Report, the Institute of Fiscal Studies has calculated that Labour's pledges to increase spending on schools and hospitals would mean other government departments facing cuts of up to 19.2% in their budgets from 2011. Areas affected would include higher education, transport and housing. The Institute also calculates that the planned increase in national insurance contributions will hit anyone earning more than 14,000, and not 20,000 as the Treasury had said, since employers are liable to recoup the higher cost of NI by squeezing pay.

The recession: its impact on third sector organisations

T. Scragg

Housing, Care and Support, vol.12, Oct. 2009, p. 6-11

This article describes the response to a survey of voluntary sector organisations and their experience of the impact of the recession. The majority of organisations responding confirmed a picture of increased demand, rising costs and pressure on funding, whether from central or local government. The responses also confirmed that some organisations were being expected to meet increased demand without a commensurate increase in resources. All organisations reported taking steps to reduce costs and several had made staff redundant. Several described plans to generate more income through fundraising and more active relationships with donors.

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