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

Divide and rule

T. Travers

Public Finance, May 2011, p. 24-27

Local government in England had little time to prepare for the 2011/12 funding cuts, because the government did not publish the grant settlement until Dec. 13th 2010. This gave insufficient time to manage a rational and planned approach to cost saving measures such as joint provision, improved procurement and reduced overheads. As a result, each local authority has saved money by cutting different local services. The result of this approach is that local single issue pressure groups are fighting to save particular services and overall opposition is weak.

Upskilling the workers will not upskill the work: why the dominant economic framework limits child poverty reduction

P. Lewis

Journal of Social Policy, vol. 40, 2011, p. 535-556

This paper demonstrates that the main political parties in the UK share the social objective of reducing poverty through three broad policy pillars: work intensification (including welfare-to-work), redistribution (including the minimum wage and tax credits) and skill upgrading. It is argued that these pillars are consistent with a neoclassical understanding of how the economy should function. However, this paper is sceptical that the approach will work because the jobs currently available to poorer households are low paid and in the service sector and will not lift families out of poverty, especially as current levels of redistribution are far from generous.

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