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Welfare Reform on the Web (May 2011): Welfare state - UK

Cameron raises stakes in debate on immigration

S. Coates, A. Athana and M. Savage

The Times, Apr. 14th 2011, p. 1

David Cameron blamed tension about immigration on a 'woeful welfare system' that for years had paid Britons not to work, suggesting that Britons were happy to languish on benefits while immigrants filled the gaps in the labour market.

Child maintenance change will penalise single mothers, minister told

A. Gentleman

The Guardian, Apr. 6th 2011, p. 8

In a letter to the home secretary Theresa May, charities have warned that changes to the child maintenance system will penalise single mothers. The changes are designed to encourage estranged parents to come to an agreement on how much support the non-resident parent should contribute. Those unable to come to an agreement will have to pay if they want the state to enforce a settlement and collect the money on their behalf. These charges will usually be met by the mother, according to the Gingerbread charity.

Councils 'cutting as they sit on millions'

T. Ross, J. Kirkup and N. Collins

Daily Telegraph, Apr. 18th 2011, p. 1 + 2

Grant Schapps, the Conservative local government minister, has accused Labour run local councils of hoarding reserves while cutting frontline services such as libraries, child care and road maintenance. Reduced spending on local services is expected to be a central concern for voters at the May 2011 council elections.

Ethnic minorities clobbered


Labour Research, Apr. 2011, p. 10-12

Black workers and ethnic minority communities will be disproportionately adversely affected by coalition government cuts in public spending. Black workers' jobs are under threat due to huge reductions in the numbers employed in the public sector, while some of the poorest boroughs in the country are the targets of the deepest local authority funding cuts. This is expected to lead to the closure of community projects and specialist services supporting minority groups.

Opening doors, breaking barriers: a strategy for social mobility

H.M. Government


The coalition government's new strategy for the promotion of social mobility aims to create a level playing field in which success in life is based on 'what you know, not who you know and which family you are born into'. Measures will include:

  • A new compact with business, under which leading firms will promise to open up internships and work experience to youngsters from all backgrounds. They will be expected to pay interns the minimum wage or provide out-of-pocket expenses.
  • An internship scheme in the civil service for pupils, students and graduates of all classes
  • Employers sending staff into schools to encourage pupils to enter professions
  • The introduction of access agreements to ensure that 90% of pupils who attend state schools have an equal chance to get into the best universities
  • Help for children who are held back in schools by badly behaved pupils
The success of the strategy will be evaluated through annual indicators measured at seven stages of life from birth to age 30, to determine prospects across the classes.

(For comment by Nick Clegg and Iain Duncan Smith see Daily Telegraph, Apr. 5th 2011, p. 20; for comment on positive discrimination in favour of university applications from state school pupils see Daily Telegraph, Apr. 4th 2011, p. 12)

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