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

ANTI-POVERTY DRIVES MERGING TO GIVE LOCAL BODIES MORE FREEDOM

K. Guha

Financial Times, Oct. 18th 2002, p. 4

Above £1bn has been committed since 1997 to anti-poverty initiatives that the government now plans to scrap or merge with other schemes. Funding for these programmes will be lumped together in an effort to cut red tape. Barbara Roche, Minister for Social Exclusion, said overall spending on projects in deprived areas would stay exactly the same - about £3bn a year.

BLAIR BEATEN BUT DEFIANT ON PUBLIC SERVICES

M. White

The Guardian, Oct. 1st 2002, p. 1

In only the second conference defeat of the Blair era, delegates voted by 67.2% to 32.8% to back a Unison call for an independent review of PFI. The Labour Conference also rejected a pro-PFI motion by 58.4% to 41.0%. Prime Minister Blair however, remained unrepentant telling conference "We've not been bold enough" and "it's time to increase the pace of reform"

(See also The Times, Oct. 1st 2002, p. 1; Financial Times, Oct. 1st 2002, p. 1; Daily Telegraph, Oct. 1st 2002, p. 1; The Independent, Oct. 1st 2002, p.1)

BLAIR VOWS TO PURSUE PUBLIC SECTOR REFORM

J. Blitz

Financial Times, Oct. 2nd 2002, p.1

Yesterday at Blackpool Tony Blair spelled out in the most detail yet his plans to end what he called "the one-size fits all mass production public service". The Prime Minister faced down critics declaring that the "monolithic provision of services has to depart from the public sector"

(See also The Daily Telegraph, Oct. 2nd 2002, p. 1; The Times, Oct. 2nd 2002, p. 1; The Independent, Oct. 2nd 2002, p. 1; The Guardian, Oct. 2nd 2002, p.1)

CHANCELLOR TO PROMISE BEST LOCAL ANTHORITIES 'BONFIRE OF CONTROLS'

N. Timmins

Financial Times, Oct. 11th 2002, p.2

Top performing local authorities are to be promised "a bonfire of controls" today by Gordon Brown as the government tries to move from the command-and-control approach to local services.

(See also The Guardian, Oct. 11th 2002, p.5)

COUNCILS BRACED FOR BUDGET CUTS AS CENSUS INDICATES SMALLER POPULATIONS

S. Briscoe

Financial Times, Oct. 4th 2002, p. 2

A large drop in population in some part of the country, discovered in the latest census, could lead to big falls in councils' funding and a consequent cut in vital services. Top of the list is the City of Westminster and other big potential losers include Kensington and Chelsea, Forest Heath, Suffolk and Richmond upon Thames.

DUNCAN SMITH PUTS THE CASE FOR LESS STATE AND MORE COMMON SENSE

T. Philpot

Community Care, Oct. 3rd-9th 2002, p. 20-21

Reports an interview in which Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith argues that health and social care need to be freed from central government control and made accountable to local people instead.

FACTS FRICTION

D. Walker

Guardian Society, Oct. 2nd 2002, p. 10

Following the announcements of new chief executives at both the Economic and Social Research Council and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation's research programme, the article asks how relevant and impartial is government-funded research on the social conditions of Britain today.

HALF OF PROJECTS FOR POOR TO BE AXED OR MERGED

K. Guha

Financial Times, Oct. 17th 2002, p.4

Government has admitted that the plethora of projects it has launched to combat social exclusion has ended in confusion and red tape. Some 28 schemes are now to be axed and their budgets added to those of similar projects. Thus Education Action Zones will become part of the Excellence in Cities programme, Health Action Zones will be reintegrated into the mainstream health system, and three regeneration projects (New Deal for Communities, Neighbourhood Management and Business Brokers) will be merged. Home Zones and Employment Zones are to be scrapped altogether.

KEY CONCEPTS AND DEBATES IN HEALTH AND SOCIAL POLICY

N. Malin, S. Wilmot and J. Manthorpe

Buckingham: Open University Press, 2002.

By adopting an ideologies of welfare approach, this book explores recent policy shifts to illustrate theoretical and political tensions of key social policy concepts and explores their relevance for health and welfare policy.

OPPORTUNITY FOR ALL: FOURTH ANNUAL REPORT 2002

Department for Work Pensions

London: TSO, 2002 (Cm 5598)

Report confirms that 1.4 million children have been taken out of absolute poverty since 1997 and half a million out of relative poverty (defined as below 60% of average family income). Teenage pregnancies are down 6%. Employment rates among three socially excluded groups, lone parents, the disabled and people living in deprived areas, have risen faster than rates among the whole population. Report as a whole covers:

  • making work pay;
  • services for children;
  • improving public services;
  • partnership with the devolved administrations and the EU.

POOR EXCUSES

P. Kenway and I. Newman

Public Finance, Oct. 4th - 10th 2002, p. 24-25

Argues that the persistence of poverty in the UK is due to:

  • lack of affordable housing
  • the minimum wage being set too low to lift low-income families out of poverty.

Finally, social policies aimed at addressing inequality often have lower priority than the improvement of mainstream public services.

POVERTY, SOCIAL WORK AND SOCIAL JUSTICE

G. Craig

British Journal of Social Work, vol. 32, 2002, p. 669-682

Author sets out his understanding of what a programme promoting social justice should look like. Then he evaluates the performance of the New Labour government in eradicating poverty in the light of this understanding.

QUALITY, INNOVATION, CHOICE

Liberal Democrats

London: 2002

Argues that local service providers should be free to choose methods of delivery from both public and private sectors in order to achieve best outcomes. Also supports local pay flexibility to help recruit staff to unattractive areas.

'WAR ON LONE PARENTS OVER'

G. Hurst

The Times, Oct. 9th 2002, p. 11

The Conservatives declared yesterday that the Party's "war" on single mothers was over, in an extraordinary admission of its past hostility. David Willetts told Tories that families "come in all shapes and sizes"

(See also The Guardian, Oct. 9th 2002, p.10; Financial Times, Oct. 9th 2002, p.4)

WHAT ABOUT THE WORKERS?

S. Sachdev

Public Finance, Sept. 6th-12th 2002, p. 26-27

Argues that savings achieved through public-private partnerships for the delivery of public services have been due to the imposition poorer working conditions and lower pay.

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