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

ANALYSING FAMILIES: MORALITY AND RATIONALITY IN POLICY AND PRACTICE

A. Carling, S. Duncan and R. Edwards

London: Routledge, 2002

This book examines the social processes directly responsible for the dramatic changes that have been taking place in social policy. It focuses on how government policy interacts with what families actually do. It looks at isues such as: the relationship between morality and rationality in family processes; the variety of contemporary family forms; the purposes and assumptions of government intervention in family life; divorce and post-divorce arrangements; lone parenthood and step parenting; the economic approach to understanding family decision-making.

BLAIR PLEADS WITH UNIONS AND LEFT TO TRUST HIM

T. Baldwin

Times, Mar. 27th 2002, p.14

There is to be a statutory code of practice protecting workers transferred to local council contractors and new recruits employed by them. New staff are to be offered "broadly comparable" terms and conditions to existing workers transferred from the public sector.

(See also Independent, Mar. 27th 2002, p.1; Daily Telegraph, Mar. 27th 2002, p.4; Financial Times, Mar. 27th 2002, p.3; Guardian, Mar. 27th 2002, p.6)

BLAIR TAKES GAMBLE ON PUBLIC'S ALTRUISM

P. Webster

Times, Apr. 17th 2002, p.9

In order to win public acceptance of tax rises to fund public services, the Prime Minister and the Chancellor are linking higher spending to reform and modernisation. If public services do not improve as a result, the people may take their revenge at the next election.

BUDGET 2002

Guardian, Apr. 18th 2002, p.13-24

From the point of view of welfare reform, the budget promises a 43% rise in NHS spending over the next five years. This will be funded by a 1% across the board increase in National Insurance contributions from April 2003. Personal tax allowances will be frozen. An independent auditor will report to Parliament on how the NHS is spending the money.

A new child tax credit will be available to families with incomes of £58,000 and below. An extra £3.5bn is allocated to help families. A minimum income of £179 a week will be guaranteed to working single parents; working families will be guaranteed £237 a week. The Working Tax Credit will guarantee childless couples over 25 in full time work a weekly income of £183, while single people are promised £154.

Everyone aged 25 or over who has been out of work for a total of 18 months over three years will be required to take part in the New Deal programme. They will also be forced to attend a job preparation course, known as Gateway to work.

The Chancellor has raised income tax allowances for pensioners above the rate of inflation and confirmed the introduction of a pension credit that guarantees single pensioners a minimum income of £100 a week.

(See also Times, Apr. 18th 2002, p.9-24; Financial Times, Apr. 18th 2002, p.1-31)

CAN THEY DELIVER?

D. Walker

The Guardian, April 22nd 2002, p.4

The newspaper has chosen to investigate public services by choosing one area which they will visit every month examining the state of health, education, crime, social services, transport and environment. By the time of the next election they aim to answer the question: did Labour deliver for you?

ECONOMIC INACTIVITY AND SOCIAL INCLUSION

P. Bivand

Working Brief, no. 132, 2002, p.8-10

People who are without a job, want a job, are seeking a job and are available to start are classified as unemployed. People not in work who do not meet these criteria are classed as economically inactive. The highest economic inactivity rates are found in the areas of greatest deprivation among people with low skills who may be in poor health.

ETHNIC MINORITIES AND THE LABOUR MARKET: INTERIM ANALYTICAL REPORT

Performance and Innovation Unit

London: 2002

This large report reviews the available evidence on the position of ethnic minorities in the labour market and analyses the causes of disadvantage. These include:

  • discrimination by employers;
  • low skills and lack of formal qualifications;
  • lack of affordable childcare;
  • poor command of English;
  • housing factors.

Finally reviews the impact of government interventions including the New Deals, the Connections Service and the National Strategy for Neighbourhood Renewal.

FED UP OF FUNDING THE STATE

S. Hayter

Third Sector, issue 269, 2002, p.11

Charities that provide services to local authorities are under pressure because fees do not cover costs. Some are using voluntary income to subsidise services, but smaller ones may go out of business.

IT WILL END IN TIERS

D. Harding

Public Finance, Apr. 12th-18th 200, p.28-29

Government proposals to end the stalemate over the terms and conditions of outsourced employees have won the support of employers and unions. The proposed new rules would require companies providing public services under contract to offer new staff broadly similar terms and conditions to those of employees transferred from the state sector. They would also have to offer reasonable pension arrangements.

JUDGES DISMISS CLAIMS THAT CHARITY PERFORMS "PUBLIC FUNCTIONS"

L. Revans

Community Care, Apr. 4th-10th 2002, p.14-15

Describes the difficulties involved in determining if a private body providing services under contract to a local authority is a "public authority" under the Human Rights Act 1998. Discusses two recent judgements involving the Leonard Cheshire Foundation (found not to be a public authority) and Poplar Housing and Regeneration Community Association (found to be a public authority)

LONE PARENT FAMILIES AND WORK

K. Green

Crucible, Apr. - June 2002, p.91-96

Summarises government policies and initiatives aimed at helping lone parents to leave welfare and join the labour market. Discusses barriers to work and government strategies for overcoming them, including the New Deal for Lone Parents, the National Childcare Strategy, and the Working Families Tax Credit.

OUT OF THE BAG

D. Walker

Public Finance, Apr. 12th-18th 2002, p.24-25

Predicts that in order to maintain investment in public services, the Chancellor of the Exchequer will be forced to raise taxes in his April 2002 budget. Unfortunately for him, he does not have control over the spending departments such as education and health which will have to deliver tangible improvements to the electorate.

THE RETURN OF UNIVERSALISM

D. Walker

Guardian, Mar. 21st 2002, p.23

Argues that private sector failures in pension and social care provision for older people are fuelling a revival of political support for a comprehensive welfare state. Such public provision would have to be funded by tax hikes.

UNDERSTANDING STATE WELFARE: SOCIAL JUSTICE OR SOCIAL EXCLUSION

B. Lund

London: Sage Publications, 2002

Provides both theories of welfare and the history of development of the British Welfare State.It explores the issues surrounding:

  • the 'invisible hand' and the emerging state;
  • the rise of collectivism;
  • collectivism contained;
  • the welfare state and social justice;
  • redistributive state welfare;
  • state to market and market to state;
  • New Labour and market to state;
  • New Labour, social exclusion and social justice.
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