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Welfare Reform on the Web - January 2001: Welfare state - UK

BARCLAYS BREAKS RANKS TO BACK POST OFFICE'S UNIVERSAL BANK

A. Garfield

Independent, Oct. 23rd 2000, p.15

Reports that Barclays Bank is ready to break ranks with the other high street banks to back the new Post Office Universal Bank. However the plans are being opposed by Lloyds TSB, HSBC and the Royal Bank of Scotland, who argue that their basic bank account is a more effective way of targeting the financially excluded.

DELIVERING CHANGE, SUPPORTING CHANGE: THE ROLE OF INSPECTION IN IMPROVING PUBLIC SERVICES: A DISCUSSION PAPER

Institute for Public Policy Research et al

London: LGA Publications, 2000

Suggests three areas where action can be taken to strengthen the links between inspection and improvement in public services such as health, education and social care. Firstly, inspection should complement internal processes of challenge and review and voluntary improvement schemes. Secondly, the focus of inspection must strike the right balance between past performance and capacity for improvement. Thirdly, the legitimacy of inspection must be improved by ensuring that inspector's judgements are seen to be fair and reasonable, and grounded in a shared understanding of best practice.

HOW WE CAN OFFER INCREASES IN PUBLIC SPENDING WHILE REDUCING TAXES

M. Portillo

Times, Oct. 30th 2000, p.18 + 1

Argues that tax cuts can be funded by measures such as encouraging the middle classes to pay for their own healthcare, enabling young people to invest their national insurance contributions in a funded pension scheme, and giving capital endowments to universities to reduce the need for state support.

(See also Independent, Oct. 31st 2000, p. 6; Daily Telegraph, Oct. 31st 2000, p. 8; Times Oct. 31st 2000, p.15; Guardian, Oct. 31st 2000, p. 8)

IT JUST CAN'T BE DONE

M. Benn

Community Care, no. 1343, 2000, p. 14

Argues that poverty in the UK cannot be eradicated by the government's eclectic mix of individual self-improvement, community development and regeneration, and targeted government help.

MIND THE MORALIST GAP

B. Campbell

Municipal Journal, Nov. 3rd - 9th 2000, p.11

Argues that government strategies for tackling poverty and social exclusion are based on an ugly moralism which blames the "undeserving poor" for their own misfortunes. Suggests that poverty in the UK derives not from the pathology of the poor, but from the government's response to economic globalisation and the revolution in family relationships.

POOR AREAS TO GO ONLINE WITH FREE COMPUTERS

A. Grice and C. Arthur

Independent, Oct. 12th 2000, p.11

In order to remedy the growing exclusion of poor people from Internet access, the government is to spend 10m on providing free computers to residents in 10 deprived areas. If the pilot schemes prove successful, the project will be extended nationwide.

(See also Guardian, Oct. 12th 2000, p.8)

POST OFFICE SEEKS 130M A YEAR TO RUN BANK FOR THE POOR

J. Mackintosh

Financial Times, Oct. 12th 2000, p. 4.

As part of its business plan for running a basic banking service for the financially excluded, the Post Office has asked banks to contribute 130m a year towards running costs. The Plan suggests a further 70m will be contributed by government and the Post Office. Banks have protested strongly against the commercial sector subsidising the network.

(See also Daily Telegraph, Oct. 13th 2000, p. 35; Guardian, Oct. 12th 2000, p.24)

POVERTY AND SOCIAL EXCLUSION IN BRITAIN

D. Gordon et al

York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2000

By the end of 1999 a quarter of the British population were living in poverty measured in terms of low income and multiple deprivation of necessities. Roughly 9.5 million people in Britain cannot afford adequate housing. About 8 million cannot afford one or more essential household goods. About 2 million children go without at least two things they need. About 6.5 million adults go without essential clothing. Around 4 million are not properly fed and over 10.5 million suffer from financial insecurity. One in six people considered themselves to be living in absolute poverty as defined by the United Nations.

SOLIDARITY PUT TO THE TEST: HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE IN THE UK

M. Johnson and L. Cullen

International Journal of Social Welfare, vol. 9, 2000, p. 228-237

In the UK evidence of continued high levels of public support for state welfare is being rewarded by significant government support. If the sub-themes causing concern - the balance of public and private provision, rationing by price and age, the postcode lottery governing service availability and the spate of professional failings - are taken out of the discourse as being second order issues, solidarity and care are still intact in the UK. Only time will tell if these matters of public concern are going to challenge and undermine the institution of the welfare state.

STARRING ROLE FOR LOCALS

M. Taylor

Community Care, no. 1344, 2000, p. 14

In order to eradicate poverty the government needs to:

  1. continue to encourage poor people into jobs through in-work benefits
  2. create local partnerships between councils and poor people themselves to build up community capacity.

WELFARE, WORK AND POVERTY: LESSONS FROM RECENT REFORMS IN THE USA AND UK

D. Smith (editor)

Institute for the Study of Civil Society, 2000

Consists of four essays attacking the New Deal, the Working Families Tax Credit and social housing, and praising recent American welfare reforms.

YOU TACKLE SOCIAL PROBLEMS, HAGUE TELLS CHURCHES

S. Bates

Guardian, Nov. 2nd 2000, p. 13

William Hague is moving towards the idea of making private charities and religious foundations responsible for welfare provision, as the state withdraws.

(See also Daily Telegraph, Nov. 2nd 2000, p.10)

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