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

CARING FOR CITIZENSHIP

J. Harris

British Journal of Social Work, vol. 32, 2002, p. 267-281

In the post-war social democratic welfare state in the UK, an emphasis on informal care given to elderly and disabled people by the family was accompanied by a stress on the state's parallel obligations to provide support services as of right through the agency of social work as an aspect of social citizenship. The arrival of the New Right in the 1980s undermined the stress on the state's parallel obligations. Following the community care reforms of the early 1990s, informal care was regarded as the core resource which required management by social workers, often with the goal of averting service provision. In the New Right's concept of citizenship, dependency was to be avoided and informal care came to the fore. Caring was recast as an expression of citizenship obligation. This has led to a situation in which carers' voices are privileged over those of care recipients.

LABOUR TO ABANDON ONE THIRD OF TARGETS

A. Grice

The Independent, 27th May 2002, p.1

The Government is to scrap many of its performance targets for public services. Up to a third of the 160 targets set two years ago will disappear when Gordon Brown unveils a three year public spending plan in July. Such a move has provoked allegations that he is "moving the goal posts" because government will not meet its original targets.

MUTUAL REGARD

S. Parker

Guardian, May 23rd 2002, p.17

Discusses the feasibility of running public service organisations such as hospitals as social enterprises. These would be mutual organisations not controlled by government and accountable to service users. Turning a profit would not be their sole concern, but they would have the freedom to borrow money for investment.

UN ATTACKED FAILURES OVER SOCIAL EXCLUSION

J. Edgeshaw

Financial Times, May 21st 2002, p.3

A United Nations report concludes that the UK government is not doing enough to close the poverty gap. The report, from the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights criticises many of the government's economic reforms and concludes that higher priority needs to be given to addressing the "persistence of considerable levels of poverty".

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