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

ACROSS THE CLEAR RED WATER

S. Davies

Public Finance, May 23rd-29th 2003, p.22-23

The Labour government in power in Wales opposed the Blairite programme of public service reform. It is lukewarm about the private finance initiative and has no plans to introduce university top-up fees or foundation hospitals.

"IT HOLDS SOCIETY TOGETHER": EXPLORING YOUNG PEOPLE'S UNDERSTANDINGS OF "WELFARE"

I. McIntosh

Youth and Policy, No. 79, 2003, p.31-45

Young people associated the welfare state with social security benefits and thought of it as an important safety net. They believed that citizens had a moral obligation to help each other which was fulfilled through the welfare state. They found it very difficult to conceive of a world without state welfare.

THE LAND THAT TIME FORGOT

D. Walker

Public Finance, May 23rd-29th 2003, p.18-20

Opposition to New Labour's public service modernisation project has spread from the trade unions to include professional bodies and the public. Parents and teachers oppose the over-testing of children from the age of seven, and the British Medical Association is unhappy about the proposed contract for GPs.

MINISTER CALLS UK POVERTY "SHOCKING"

J. Eaglesham and J. Blitz

Financial Times, June 24th 2003, p.1

Patricia Hewitt, the Trade and Industry Secretary, claimed that the "shocking" poverty and inequality of contemporary Britain would have horrified 1930s socialists. In a speech to the Fabian Society she highlighted the "gulf in health, education and life chances" which she argued still exist in Britain today.

POWER TO THE PEOPLE

C. Kennedy

Public Finance, May 30th-June 5th 2003, p.24-25

The Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy argues that Labour's attempts at decentralisation of public services have been a sham. He argues that decentralisation requires:

  • freedom to set priorities locally;
  • local funding of services through local taxation;
  • diversity of service suppliers.

RAW DEALS

P. Toynbee

Public Finance, June 6th-12th 2003, pl28-30

The article argues that the prevalence of contracting out services such as cleaning and catering is hindering public service improvement. Contract workers are underpaid, undervalued and largely without management control.

WARNING ON COSTS OF ONLINE PUBLIC SERVICES

N. Timmins

Financial Times, June 10th 2003, p.3

The cost of introducing "e-government" is set to outweigh the financial savings for at least a decade, according to independent research analyst Kable. The government has a target of getting all services online by 2005 but IT market analyst Kable warn significant savings will not be realised - certainly not in the short term and possibly never.

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