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Welfare Reform on the Web (May 2003): Welfare State - UK

PUBLIC INTEREST COMPANIES: FAD OR PERMANENT FIXTURE?

P. Maltby

New Economy, vol. 10, 2003, p. 21-27

Discusses the role of public interest companies in delivering public services. Their use is appropriate in three key areas:

  • in public enterprises that are monopoly services where users are organised and can be given some control over the governance of the company;
  • when contracting out a service is desirable but its complexity means that the public interest could not be guaranteed solely through a contract;
  • where a key aim of a service is involvement of users in its governance.

QUERULOUS CITIZENS: WELFARE KNOWLEDGE AND THE LIMITS TO WELFARE REFORM

P. Taylor-Gooby, C. Hastie and C. Bromley

Social Policy and Administration, vol. 37, 2003, p. 1-20

The UK's Labour government has set ambitious targets for improvements in public services such as healthcare and education while at the same time committing itself to fiscal prudence. At the same time citizens are increasingly challenging government policy. Article reports findings from the British Social Attitudes Survey on citizens' knowledge and beliefs in the main social policy areas. Finds that citizens' beliefs about redistributive policies which involve increasing taxation for the better off and expanding provision for the poor are inaccurate and moves in this direction will create controversy. On the other hand, NHS costs are more accurately perceived, and the proposed expansion is likely to ignite less controversy.

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