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Welfare Reform on the Web (May 2012): Welfare state - UK

Bottom of the class

M. Prowle

Public Finance, Apr. 2012, p. 32-34

Evidence is mounting that public services such as health and education are performing worse in Wales than in England. Wales has eschewed the market-based public service reforms introduced in England, and has trod a distinctive path of service provision based on co-operation and collaboration rather than competition. However, this approach has demonstrably failed to lift public service performance in Wales and an urgent rethink is needed.

Budget 2012

Treasury Committee

London: TSO, 2012 (House of Commons papers, session 2010/12; HC1910)

This report raises concerns about a number of measures in the 2012 budget, including: moves to water down the cut in child benefit for high-earners, which will complicate the tax code; plans to cut tax relief on charitable donations, where the government is urged to consider alternatives; and the reduction in tax allowances for pensioners, which were announced although the Treasury's own advisers were still considering the issue. The Committee expressed particular concern about the impact of the Bank of England's policy of quantitative easing on pensioners and prudent savers, as this depresses the annual returns on annuities that many people buy on retirement.

The promotion of local wellbeing: a primer for policymakers

M. D. Rablen

Local Economy, vol. 27, 2012, p. 297-314

There is now a growing global interest in the promotion of wellbeing as a public policy objective. In particular, UK local authorities have been given powers to promote wellbeing in their areas under the Local Government Act 2000. Recent advances in the multidisciplinary academic literature on wellbeing are beginning to make a systematic approach to this goal possible, but progress is hampered by a lack of understanding at the local government level. This article reviews the literature on the definition, measurement and determinants of wellbeing and discusses some of its implications for local public policy.

Putting the social into productivity

M. Taylor

Public Finance, Apr. 2012, p. 12-13

The author argues that in order to reduce costs in an age of austerity government needs to tap into the ability of communities and individuals to help themselves. There are two principal elements to achieving this: 1) understanding and measuring community capacity for self-help; and 2) being willing to reimagine and recast services, based on different ways of thinking about community assets.

Serving the public or delivering public services? Religion and social welfare in the new British social policy landscape

R. Jawad

Journal of Poverty and Social Justice, vol.20, 2012, p. 55-68

The academic study of social policy in the UK has been largely silent about the role of religion in the development of the British welfare state and its gradual re-emergence onto the public policy scene since the early 1990s. This article offers a critical introduction, based on empirical research, to why and how religion matters to contemporary British social policy. It argues that religious welfare provision: 1) is key to a historically accurate account of British social policy; 2) challenges utilitarian notions of wellbeing; 3) is potentially a good example of the Big Society in action; and 4) is able to reconcile its secular public service provision role with its religious identity.

Social justice: transforming lives

HM Government

London: TSO, 2012 (Cm 8314)

The report sets out the Government's vision for its social justice strategy, exploring how it can tackle the root causes of problems to promote real and sustained changes in peoples' lives. The vision is based on two fundamental principles:

  • First, prevention throughout a person's life with carefully designed interventions to stop people falling off track and into difficult circumstances, by starting with families, reform of the school and justice systems, the welfare system and beyond.
  • Second, the strategy sets out the goal of a 'second chance society'. Anybody who needs a second chance in society should be able to access the support and tools they need to transform their lives.
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