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Welfare Reform on the Web (May 2001): Welfare State - UK

5M BRITONS 'LIVING ON THE BREADLINE'

J. Carvel

Guardian, Mar 8th, 2001, p.8

Research on the number of Europeans living below the breadline suggests that more than 5m people were living below the breadline in Britain during Tony Blair's third year in office. The definition of poverty used included lack of food, safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, health, shelter, education and information. Article goes on to discuss the research findings in more detail.

ACCOUNTS ROW THREATENS BANK FOR POOR

S. English

Daily Telegraph, Mar 12th 2001, p.25

Banks are threatening to withdraw from setting up the proposed Universal Bank for the poor unless the government accepts that postmasters are not qualified to handle account opening. The industry argues that postmasters are likely to become victims of fraud. It is asking for indemnity from financial losses should any new accounts turn out to be fraudulent, something which the government is reluctant to offer.

BLOODLESS REVOLUTION

L. Hughes

Community Care, no.1359, 2001, p.20-21

Argues that New Labour's social policies will lead to the emergence of new professions as the boundaries between health, education and social care are redrawn. These new opportunities will include:

  • a social education and development profession to assist disaffected young people;
  • emergence of joint qualifications in nursing and social work;
  • an enhanced role for marketing and public relations specialists;
  • the emergence of new specialisms in economic and community development.

BROWN GIVES SOMETHING TO EVERYONE AS HE PREPARES THE WAY FOR ELECTION

E. Crookes and B. Groom

Financial Times, Mar 8th 2001, p.1

Gordon Brown has made it clear that 'hard working families' were the key voters he wanted to reach with this budget. Lower income families will benefit from a package of benefits and tax credits worth £1.2 bn in 2002-03. Public services also gained. There was an extra £1 bn each for health and education over the next three years.

BROWN IS A SOCIAL ENGINEER IN DISGUISE

J. Steizer

Times, Mar 8th 2001, p.30

Discusses how the budget is a dependency budget and is aimed very much at children, regardless of the material status of the parents. Article goes on to look at Britain as an entrepreneurial society, invisible taxes and their cost to society and the economy.

BROWN SETS IT UP, BUT WILL WE ALL BUY IT?

L. Elliott

Guardian, Mar 8th 2001, p.15

Discusses how extra money for schools and hospitals will be injected over the next three years and how it may be spent. Article looks at how those at the bottom of the income scale have come out on top under Labour with the national minimum wage, the working families tax credit, reduction in income tax and national insurance contributions and increases in child benefit and income-related benefits. It questions how those in middle England will swallow all this.

BROWN'S BOLD RETURN TO LABOUR'S SWINGING 60'S

A. Kaletsky

Times, Mar 8th 2001, p.29

Examines Gordon Brown's fourth and most definitive budget, not in its economic effects but in its political significance. This budget sees an upsurge in long term public spending commitments, poverty alleviation and voter friendly tax reductions.

BUDGET 2001: INVESTING FOR THE LONG TERM: BUILDING OPPORTUNITY AND PROSPERITY FOR ALL

Treasury

London: TSO, 2001 (House of Commons papers. Session 2000/2001; HC279)

Lays down the government's economic strategy for the coming year. It examines policies on the delivery of macroeconomic stability and meeting the productivity challenge as well as covering fairness for families and communities, childcare, provision of high quality public services, increasing employment opportunities for all and the impact of the budget measures on households.

DID THINGS GET BETTER? AN AUDIT OF LABOUR'S SUCCESSES AND FAILURES

P. Toynbee and D. Walker

London: Penguin, 2001

Assesses the impact of the Labour government's reforms on the education system, the health service and social inequality. Concludes that promised improvements cannot be delivered without higher public spending, paid for by higher taxes.

KENNEDY'S 1P TAX RISE TO PAY NURSES

S. Womack

Daily Telegraph, Feb 27th 2001, p.8

The Liberal Democrats would, if elected, raise taxes by £8 bn. The extra money would be used to give nurses a pay rise, scrap university tuition fees, and raise pensions by £5.00 a week for a single person and £8.00 a week for a couple.

(See also Independent, Feb 27th 2001, p.28; Guardian, Feb 27th 2001, p.11).

LABOUR'S PRIVATE DETERMINATION TO DELIVER

N. Timmins

Financial Times, Feb 26th 2001, p.21

Presents an overview of the extent to which the Labour government is using the private sector to deliver public services in education, health and social care, and housing. At the same time it is continuing the trend of expecting the better off to privately finance their pensions, housing and higher education, instead of relying on state help.

NEW MONEY FOR SCHOOLS, HOSPITALS AND FIGHTING CRIME

A. Parker, J. Kelly and N. Timmins

Financial Times, Mar 8th 2001, p.4

Gordon Brown has announced £1 bn more direct funding for schools, £1 bn for the National Health Service and a nationwide programme to fight drugs. Article discusses how the money will be directed in both education and the NHS at the recruitment and retention of staff.

PERSPECTIVES ON PARTNERSHIP

N. Deakin

Voluntary Sector, Feb 2001, p.16-17

Gives a cautious welcome to the new enthusiasm for partnership between the voluntary sector and the state.

PRUDENCE PAYS OFF?

P. Toynbee

Guardian, Mar 8th 2001, p.13

The Chancellor's final budget was targeted at the average and poorer family. New mothers, childcare and paternity leave have all benefited, as have hospitals and schools to whom billions have been promised. Those poorer pensioners have also been promised to be lifted out of poverty in April.

REFERENDUM REBUFFS TEACH STATUTORY LESSONS

S. Brown

Public Finance, Feb 23rd-Mar 1st 2001, p.12

In a recent referendum, citizens of Bristol voted for a council tax freeze and a massive cut in the education budget. In the light of this result, article questions whether referenda are sensible ways of determining priorities for public spending.

RULES RELAXED ON CASH FOR SCHOOLS AND NHS

J. Kelly and N. Timmins

Financial Times, Mar 9th 2001, p.4

Reports positive reaction by schools and NHS trusts to the monies allocated directly to them in the budget to spend as they wish on their own priorities.

SAVING GRACE

S. Regan

Guardian, Mar 7th 2001, p.21

Argues that tax relief has failed to encourage saving amongst low to moderate income households as the proportion without financial or housing assets has doubled since 1978. Proposes instead the institution of "baby bonds", cash endowments from the state for every new born child, and the development of banking facilities run by community and voluntary groups.

VALUES AT RISK WHEN PUBLIC SERVICE GOES PRIVATE

N. Timmins

Financial Times, Mar 12th 2001, p.27

Public services are increasingly being contracted out to private companies and the voluntary sector. These contracts need to specify clear overall outcomes, which provide incentives for the provider to deliver what customers want. Thus Working Links, a partnership between the Employment Service, and a private sector provider, is paid by results. It gets its fee when an unemployed person has been placed in a job for three months.

WHAT'S DOWN THE LINE FOR CARE DIRECT

M. Hunter

Community Care, no.1360, 2001, p.10-11

Care Direct is the government's attempt to provide a "one-stop shop gateway" to information about social care, health, housing and social security benefits through a single phone number. Article looks at the pitfalls that may await the planned pilot schemes.