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Welfare Reform on the Web (May 2002): Welfare State - UK

AUDIT OFFICE TO HAVE NEW POWERS OVER PRIVATE SECTOR

R. Shrimsley

Financial Times, Mar. 14th 2002, p. 6

The Treasury has announced that the remit of the National Audit Office is to be extended to include social landlords, contractors in private finance initiative projects and bodies receiving government grants.

BLAIR TO SCRAP PROMISES ON WORKERS' RIGHTS

T. Baldwin

Times, Mar. 7th 2002, p. 1 + 4

Reports contents of leaked Cabinet papers relating to protecting the rights of workers transferred from the public to the private sector as a result of outsourcing. In an attempt to appease the unions in Autumn 2001, the government had promised to:

  • prevent private contractors from offering new recruits worse terms and conditions than existing staff;
  • to strengthen the pension rights of former public sector workers.

In order to appease business, the government is now proposing in the leaked documents to:

  • drop its proposed strengthening of pension rights;
  • replace the proposed statutory obligation for employers to offer new recruits the same terms as existing staff with a voluntary code of practice.

(See also Guardian, Mar. 7th 2002, p. 2; Daily Telegraph, Mar. 7th 2002, p. 1 + 6)

CHANGING LABOUR MARKETS, WELFARE POLICIES AND CITIZENSHIP

J. G. Anderson and P. H. Jensen

Bristol: Policy Press, 2002

This book examines changing labour markets and welfare policies. It looks at the changing interaction between policies and citizenship. It re-addresses the question how full citizenship may be preserved and developed in the face of enduring labour market pressures.

A CHANGING RELATIONSHIP?

B. Badham and T. Eadie

Community Care, Feb. 28th-Mar. 6th 2002, p. 34-36

Article reports on the changing relationship between the voluntary sector and the state. Voluntary sector organisations are taking on increased responsibilities for direct service provision, funded by and under contract to, the state. This threatens their role of campaigning against the state and lobbying for change.

INSECURE FAMILIES AND LOW-PAYING LABOUR MARKETS: COMMENTS ON THE BRITISH EXPERIENCE

H. Dean and A. Shah

Journal of Social Policy, vol. 31, 2002, p. 61-80

Drawing in part on a small-scale qualitative study of the experience of low-income working families in the UK, the article infers that working parenthood may be experienced quite differently by secure middle class families and poor families. The former are more likely to benefit from formal childcare, career breaks and flexible hours. The latter are more likely to remain dependent on informal assistance offered by family and friends and receive minimal concessions from employers. While in-work benefits will help to meet the material needs of low-income working families, they will not change the inherent insecurity of the low-paid employment available to them.

MINISTERS FAILED TO SPEND £4BN ON SERVICES

P. Waugh

Independent, Feb. 20th 2002, p. 7

Latest statistics show that the Department of Health underspent its budgets by £3.3 bn, and the Department for Education and Employment underspent by £1.3 bn in the Labour government's first term in office. Part of the slippage stems from new rules allowing departments to carry over unspent cash from one year to the next, but problems also arose because new money was pledged for publicity reasons before any thought had been given to how it could be spent.

(See also Guardian, Feb. 27th 2002, p. 20)

NEW LABOUR, WORK AND THE FAMILY

S. Driver and L. Martell

Social Policy and Administration, vol. 36, 2002, p. 46-61

On the one hand, Labour appears to support the family as a source of a more moral, cohesive and dutiful community. On the other hand, it has also given support to policies which encourage social inclusion in the community through paid work. Article examines the argument that the government's emphasis on paid work devalues family life and the kind of committed parenting it wants to promote. Concludes that while there are tensions between work and the family, these are often over-stated and fail to give sufficient weight to the complementary aspects of Labour's welfare reforms.

TRACKING POVERTY: THE NEED TO PRIORITISE MEASURES

L. Harker

New Economy, vol. 9, 2002, p. 21-25

Argues in favour of a single headline poverty measure combining a relative income measure with a measure of non-monetary deprivation. In addition to the headline measure, a small number of other measures are required to provide checks and balances to the headline figure. These might include persistent low income and an absolute measure of low income.

WHERE THERE'S A WILL .

A. Klaushofer

Public Finance, Feb. 22nd - 28th 2002, p. 26-28

Government is now looking to the dynamism of social entrepreneurs to deliver public services under contract and plug gaps in provision. Article discusses difficulties social enterprises find in securing start-up funds and the tension they feel between their social goals and the need to generate income.

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