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Welfare Reform on the Web - January 2001: Social Security - UK - new deal

BROWN REFORMS LONE PARENT AID

L. Elliott and C. Denny

Guardian, Oct. 9th 2000, p.2

Reports a new government initiative to encourage lone parents to return to work. Plans include more childcare places, more family-friendly working patterns, more generous Working Families Tax Credit, a new Child Tax Credit, and a programme called Choices that will offer 15.00 a week on top of benefit to people going into training.

(See also Independent, Oct. 10th 2000, p.4)

EVALUATING NEW DEAL FOR LONE PARENTS

L. Britton

Working Brief, issue 118, 2000, p.11-13

Findings of evaluation studies show that lack of affordable childcare and lack of self-esteem are the main barriers preventing lone parents from taking up work. Contrary to media stereotypes, lone parents in general would prefer not to be on benefits and to be in work. Lone mothers are more likely to be in employment if they are older, have children over school age and have qualifications. Many lone mothers need access to training to equip them with marketable skills.

FROM FULL EMPLOYMENT TO EMPLOYABILITY: A NEW DEAL FOR BRITAIN'S UNEMPLOYED?

D. Finn

International Journal of Manpower, vol.21, 2000, p.384-399.

Paper describes the various New Deal and area-based employment programmes introduced by the Labour government to raise skills and improve employability. The government's long-term aim is to build a "work-based welfare state for all those of working age who receive state benefits" Paper finally highlights some weaknesses of the new strategy and draws out the implications that existing evaluations of active labour market programmes have for the likely impact of the New Deals.

THE INTERMEDIATE LABOUR MARKET: A TOOL FOR TACKLING LONG-TERM UNEMPLOYMENT

B. Marshall and R. Macfarlane

York: York Publishing Services, 2000

There has been a rapid growth in the use of intermediate labour market programmes (ILMs) as a way of tackling long-term unemployment. Properly managed, they can deliver a more sustained progression from welfare to work than other programmes for the long-term unemployed. Many also provide additional local services and so contribute to neighbourhood regeneration. Setting up and managing ILMs requires strong local partnerships and lead bodies, the development of a robust delivery infrastructure and capable managers. Main problems facing those setting up ILM Programmes is the complexity associated with funding packages and monitoring requirements and the absence of secure funding sources.

LABOUR MARKET POLICY AS FLEXIBLE WELFARE: PROTOTYPE EMPLOYMENT ZONES AND THE NEW WORKFARISM

G. Haughton et al

Regional Studies, vol. 34, 2000, p. 669-680

Paper examines the evolution of the employability agenda of New Labour through the lens of one of its main policy vehicles for melding welfare reform and active labour market policies: Employment Zones. Focuses on the apparently changing policy rationales behind the initial design of prototypes and subsequently the much-altered proposals for "fully fledged" Employment Zones. Suggests a reversal of some of the progressive tendencies within the prototypes, in particular signalled by the switch from voluntary to mandatory participation for clients.

RECONNECTING THE LONG TERM UNEMPLOYED TO LABOUR MARKET OPPORTUNITY: THE CASE FOR A 'LOCAL ACTIVE LABOUR MARKET POLICY'

M. Campbell

Regional Studies, vol. 34, 2000, p. 655-668

Paper argues that the development of local active labour market policy is essential to tackling long-term unemployment. The concentration of long-term unemployment in specific localities and the uneven geography of jobs growth mean that measures to effectively reconnect those most at disadvantage in the labour market with evolving job opportunities are crucial both to balancing the labour market and to reducing labour market exclusion. Actions need to be based on an understanding of the local causes of long-term unemployment, the potential at the local level and the lessons from local and national studies of "what works" in active labour market policy. On this basis a strategic framework is proposed that can be used in the development of local policy.

WORKING HARD TO ACHIEVE FULL EMPLOYMENT

N. Timmins

Financial Times, Oct. 9th 2000, p.27

Argues that active employment policies which employ a mixture of "carrot and stick" have proved successful in getting the unemployed back to work in both the US and Europe. Carrots include minimum wages and a range of in-work benefits. The sticks are to make benefits conditional and to compel the unemployed to search for jobs or to agree to training.

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