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

BLAIR AND UNIONS ON COLLISION COURSE

M Kite and T Baldwin

Times, June 28th 2001, p.2.

The Prime Minister reassured union leaders at a dinner meeting at Downing Street that he was not planning wholesale privatisation of the health and education services. However the unions were still concerned that the detail of the government's plans for private-public partnerships had not been explained.

(See also Financial Times, June 28th 2001, p.4; Daily Telegraph, June 28th 2001, p.1+2; Guardian, June 28th 2001, p.1; Independent, June 28th 2001, p.8).

BLAIR FACES "PRIVATISATION" REVOLT

P Waugh

Independent, June 25th 2001, p.1.

Reports that the government's plans for greater private sector involvement in health and education services could trigger the worst industrial unrest since the Winter of Discontent in 1978-79. There is also growing discontent among Labour's own supporters about the privatisation plans, and about talk of creating a meritocratic society, in which it would be up to individuals to lift themselves out of poverty.

(See also Daily Telegraph, June 25th 2001, p.1; Financial Times, June 25th 2001, p.2).

BLAIR MUDDLED OVER PRIVATE SECTOR, SAY UNIONS

K Maguire, L Ward and J Carvel

Guardian, July 2nd 2001, p.10.

Union leaders have criticised the government for its "confused" proposals to extend private sector involvement in public services.

(See also Financial Times, July 2nd 2001, p.2).

BLAIR THE BONEHEAD

R Hattersley

Guardian, July 2nd 2001, p.18.

Argues that Tony Blair could defuse the present confrontation with the unions over private sector input into public services by announcing that all he meant was to offer more opportunities for the health and education services to hire private assistance.

BLAIR'S PLANS FOR PUBLIC SERVICES DIVIDE UNIONS

R Watson

Times, Jul.17th 2001, p.13.

Article discusses the way forward for improving public services by using the private sector. Mr Blair has said there is a need for 'social entrepreneurs' who will devote themselves to improving schools, universities, healthcare, crime prevention and public transport.

(See also Independent, Jul.17th 2001, p.8; Financial Times, Jul.17th 2001, p.2; Guardian, Jul.17th 2001, p.11; Daily Telegraph, Jul.17th 2001, p.4).

BROWN SQUARES UP TO PUBLIC SERVICES' STAFF

A McSmith

Daily Telegraph, July 6th 2001, p.12.

Gordon Brown has warned public sector employees that public services exist for the benefit of consumers and not for that of staff. His uncompromising message to leaders of the Transport and General Workers Union suggests that the government is ready for a confrontation with unions over increased use of private firms to deliver public services.

(See also Times, July 6th 2001, p.2; Financial Times, July 6th 2001, p.2).

BYERS READY TO TAKE OVER FAILING COUNCIL

J Sherman

Times, June 28th 2001, p.12.

Hackney Council has put essential services at risk by overspending by up to 20m. The Secretary for Transport, Local Government and the Regions has indicated that he is minded to use emergency powers under the Local Government Act 1999 to take control of essential services, including education and social services.

(See also Financial Times, June 28th 2001, p.2; Daily Telegraph, June 28th 2001, p.8; Guardian, June 28th 2001, p.7).

CONFUSION OVER PRIVATE ROLE IN PUBLIC SECTOR

N Timmins and J Kelly

Financial Times, June 26th 2001, p.4.

Discusses the role of the private sector in delivery of health and education services, including government attitude and union objections.

FIVE YEARS TO DELIVER

T Travers

Public Finance, June 15th-21st 2001, p.20-23.

The Labour government enters its second term committed to improving public services such as health and education without recourse to large tax increases. They are relying on improved productivity, public-private partnerships and a shift in resources towards health, education and pensions and away from defence, housing and social services. Ultimately, however, Britain will have to face the fact that it cannot have better public services without a rise in the tax burden of as much as 10%.

HURRAH FOR THE NEW TORY GOVERNMENT

W Rees-Mogg

Times, June 25th 2001, p.12.

Argues that Blair's proposed reforms of the education system, the NHS, social security and the police are essentially Thatcherite.

IMMIGRATION CONTROLS, THE FAMILY AND THE WELFARE STATE: A HANDBOOK OF LAW, THEORY, POLITICS AND PRACTICE FOR LOCAL AUTHORITY, VOLUNTARY SECTOR AND WELFARE STATE WORKERS AND LEGAL ADVISORS

S Cohen

London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2001.

This is a comprehensive handbook in which the author examines the law, including the 1999 Immigration and Asylum Act, as it applies in issues of welfare, immigration control and refugee status.

IRONING OUT INEQUALITY

Anon

New Review of the Low Pay Unit, no.69, 2001, p.11-13.

Looks at the latest data from the government's Economic Trends to see how tax and benefits redistribute income between households. Analysis suggests that in order to reverse the continuing growth in income inequality, the earnings of the low paid will need to be increased and top earners will need to be taxed more heavily.

IS THE PRIME MINISTER READY TO STAND UP TO THE UNIONS?

C Woodhead

Daily Telegraph, June 26th 2001, p.16.

Argues that the poor state of the health and education services in the UK is due to under-investment, poor management, and the incompetence of front-line staff. Improvement in services will only come through greater public scrutiny, more private sector involvement, and less central control of services.

JUNGLE CAPITALISTS AND TAME PUSSYCAT PARTNERS

S Hogg

Independent, July 2nd 2001, p.13.

Argues that government can inject competitive pressures into mainstream public services such as health and education through benchmarking, league tables, independent inspection and other performance measures, even where true competition is not possible.

LAST GASP OF THE OLD GUARD

T Wright

Guardian, July 3rd 2001, p.16.

Argues that while publicly funded services such as health and education should be free at the point of use, those who commission them should be free to choose the best supplier, whether from the public, private or voluntary sector.

PARTNERSHIP MATTERS

A Michael

Third Sector, Issue 209, 2001, p.10.

Discusses how the relationship between government and the voluntary sector might be deepened in a Labour second term.

PARTNERSHIPS FOR BEST VALUE: WORKING WITH THE VOLUNTARY SECTOR

Improvement and Development Agency

London: 2001

Report examines the relationship between Best Value and the voluntary sector. It looks at how Best Value reviews that affect the voluntary sector have been carried out, the lessons that have been learned by local authorities and how these might be applied in commissioning the voluntary and community sector. It finally considers how new powers granted to local authorities may boost their ability to work with the voluntary sector to deliver modernised services in imaginative ways.

RISK, CONTINGENCY AND THE THIRD WAY: EVIDENCE FROM THE BHPs AND QUALITATIVE STUDIES

P Taylor-Gooby

Social Policy and Administration, vol.35 2001, p.195-211.

This article looks at New Labour's 'Third Way' theory which is supported by 'risk society' theory as developed by Anthony Giddens. It looks at where the ideology of a "risk society" comes from. It uses qualitative and quantitative research to indicate that the risks of modern social life are experienced differently by different social groups.

TO MUTUAL ADVANTAGE: GETTING THE BEST OUT OF BEST VALUE

National Council for Voluntary Organisations

London: 2001

Guide highlights the implications of Best Value for voluntary organisations. It covers the opportunities Best Value can offer the voluntary sector and considers some of the tools available to help voluntary organisations get the most out of Best Value and at the same time reassess the efficiency, effectiveness and economics of the services they provide and the activities they undertake.

UNION RETHINKS 2M LABOUR LINK IN "PRIVATISATION" PROTEST

B Clement

Independent, June 22nd 2001, p.1

Unison has voted at its annual conference to reassess its 2m per year donation to the Labour Party in disgust at the government's plans for "privatisation" of public services.

(See also Times, June 22nd 2001, p.2; Financial Times, June 22nd 2001, p.7).

UNIONS TO MEET BLAIR ON PAY AND CONDITIONS

J Sherman and R Watson

Times, June 26th 2001, p.8.

Reports that the Prime Minister has invited trade union leaders to an urgent meeting to try to defuse the growing dispute over privatisation of the public services. Ministers, taken aback by the ferocity of the opposition from both unions and Labour MPs, have been accused of panicking as they tried to play down the extent of the proposed changes.

(See also Financial Times, June 26th 2001, p.4; Daily Telegraph, June 26th 2001, p.2; Independent, June 26th 2001, p.4).

WE WILL HELP PUBLIC SECTOR REFORM, BUT AT A PRICE, UNION LEADERS TELL BLAIR

B Russell and N Morris

Independent, June 27th 2001, p.8.

Union leaders are demanding large pay rises and improved conditions for their members in return for their co-operation in public sector reform. They also want guarantees that their members will not suffer through being transferred to commercial enterprises in privatisation initiatives.

(See also Financial Times, June 27th 2001, p.2).

WEASEL WORDS ON PRIVATE SECTOR INVOLVEMENT

N Timmins

Financial Times, July 2nd 2001, p.17.

Argues that the government has panicked in the face of mild opposition from the unions to its plans for more private sector involvement in public service provision, and has started to dissemble about its intentions.