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

BLAIR BACKS REDISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH TO TACKLE POVERTY

M. White

Guardian, Sept. 18th 2002, p. 1.

In a speech on the occasion of the publication of government's report on poverty "Opportunity for All", the prime minister admitted that ending child poverty within a generation would require the redistribution of "power, wealth and opportunity" from the rich to the poor.

(See also Independent. Sept. 18th 2002, p. 1, Independent, Sept. 19th 2002, p. 10; Times, Sept. 19th 2002, p. 8; Daily Telegraph, Sept. 19th 2002, p. 10; Guardian, Sept. 19th 2002, p. 14)

BLAIR FACES CONFERENCE AMBUSH BY TRADE UNIONS

D. Turner and N. Timmins

Financial Times, Sept. 19th 2002, p. 1

Three of the largest trade unions have tabled a motion for debate at the Labour Party conference demanding an independent review of the private finance initiative and a moratorium on all new projects until it has ruled.

BLAIR WARNS ON PUBLIC SERVICES

M. White and D. Walker

The Guardian, Sept. 22, 2002, p. 1

Tony Blair warned critics of his changes to public services that they risked becoming "prisoners" of an outmoded model of the welfare state. In defence of the government's strategy, the Prime Minister insisted that the role of private finance in modernising public services must grow.

BROWN READY FOR UNION BATTLE OVER PRIVATE FINANCE

P. Webster

Times, Sept. 20th 2002, p. 2

The Chancellor of the Exchequer has rejected union demands for a moratorium on public-private partnerships in the health service and education.

(See also Financial Times, Sept. 20th 2002, p. 2; Guardian, Sept. 20th 2002, p. 6)

DUNCAN SMITH AIMS TO SLAY "FIVE GIANTS"

A. Grice

Independent, Sept. 13th 2002, p.2

Reports a speech by Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith in which he pledged to reform the welfare state, and to tackle failing schools, crime, sub-standard health care, child poverty and insecurity in old age. He claimed that these problems had grown in the past five years due to Labour's adherence to "a top-down, micro-managing over-centralised state". He accused Labour of not helping good citizens who earn money for their families, obey the law, and act as responsible parents.

(See also Daily Telegraph, Sept. 12th 2002, p. 4; Financial Times, Sept. 12th 2002, p. 2)

EVALUATING NEW LABOUR'S WELFARE REFORMS

M. Powell (ed.)

Bristol: Policy Press, 2002

This book provides an evaluation of New Labour's welfare reforms. It offers a detailed and comprehensive examination of the welfare reforms of New Labour's first term. It compares achievements with stated aims and examines success in a wider context. It contributes to the debate on the problems of evaluating social policy.

THE FATHERLESS FAMILY

R. O'Neill

London: Civitas, 2002 (Experiments in living)

The weight of evidence indicates that the traditional family remains the best environment for raising children, and forms the soundest basis for the wider society. Lone motherhood brings poverty, emotional distress, ill health and a lack of stability. Strains on the social fabric include increased crime and violence, decreased community ties, and dependence on state welfare.

IF YOU'RE SO SURE, PROVE IT

P. Toynbee

The Guardian, Sept. 27th 2002, p. 19

The author comments on Tony Blair's Fabian pamphlet "The courage of our convictions", and wonders why, if he is convinced that privatisation of public services makes financial sense, he is afraid of a review.

PRIVATE COMPANIES AND VERY PUBLIC FAILURES

N. Timmins

Financial Times, Sept. 9th 2002, p. 23

Government's approach to improving public services over the past 10 years has involved "naming and shaming" failing organisations and bringing in private contractors. This has led to a collapse in the morale of public sector employees, and consequent recruitment and retention difficulties. At the same time, the private contractors have also run into problems due to poor commissioning practices.

THE ROLE OF THE VOLUNTARY AND COMMUNITY SECTOR IN SERVICE DELIVERY : A CROSS CUTTING REVIEW

H. M Treasury

London: 2002

Report presents a blueprint for transforming the way that the government and the voluntary sector work together. Sets out 42 recommendations to overcome the barriers facing voluntary organisations in delivering high-quality public services and to facilitate successful, long-term partnerships between the government and the third sector. Recommendations include: involving the sector in the planning as well as the delivery of services; moving to a more stable funding relationship; and ensuring that the cost of contracts for services reflects the full cost of delivery, including overheads.

SIGNS OF PENT-UP RESENTMENT AS PERFORMANCE "FIXERS" LIE IN WAIT

L. Revans

Community Care, Sept. 5th-11h 2002, p. 18-19

Government is proposing early intervention to improve the performance of councils found to be failing under the new Comprehensive Performance Assessments. There are concerns that these powers of intervention may be used precipitantly, as there are fears that the method of calculating final judgements is flawed and will result in too many councils being rated "poor" and too few "excellent".

UNDERCLASS IS A MYTH, LEFT ADMITS

A. McSmith and A. Sparrow

Daily telegraph, Sept. 4th 2002, p. 1

Catalyst, a left wing think tank, has claimed that the existence of an underclass of the permanently poor is a myth. Poverty is normally temporary and most people who are poor will not stay poor for life.

WEALTH GAP HAS WIDENED FURTHER UNDER LABOUR, SAY RESEARCHERS

A. Grice

Independent, Sept. 6th 2002, p. 2

A report by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) states that the gap between rich and poor has continued to grow since Labour came to power in 1997.

WORKING ACROSS BOUNDARIES: COLLABORATION IN PUBLIC SERVICES

H. Sullivan and C. Skelcher

Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002. (Government beyond the centre series.)

This book discusses how collaboration between government, businesses and the voluntary and community sector is now central to the way public policy is made, managed and delivered in the UK. It suggests that the use of collaboration to deliver public policy has been undertheorised and fails to connect with fundamental debates about citizenship and good governance in a democratic society.

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