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

BLAIR TO STAND FIRM ON REFORM OF SERVICES

C. Adams

The Financial Times, September 3rd 2003, p.1

Tony Blair was yesterday bracing himself for numerous defeats at the Labour Party conference as he made it clear to unions and backbenchers that he was not prepared to compromise on public service reforms.

FAMILIES AND WORK IN THE TWENTY FIRST CENTURY

S. Dex

Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2003

Family life is under constant pressure from our twenty-four hour society. Most families have to be 1.5-earner households, with mothers working part time, in order to balance the books, although the majority of mothers want fathers to work shorter hours. There is also concern that the government's policy of tackling family poverty through paid work undermines stay-at-home mothers; organising adequate childcare during the school holidays can also prove very difficult. The report also stresses that although firms are now much more understanding towards employees with young children, the needs of the carers of older adults are often ignored.

LABOUR FAILS TO MEET 40% OF ITS POVERTY TARGETS

A. Sparrow

The Daily Telegraph, September 19th 2003, p.14

The Government is failing in 40% of its targets to tackle poverty, it was revealed yesterday. There has been no change in the proportion of working adults living in relative poverty, and no change in the proportion of children, pensioners and other adults living in persistent poverty since 1997.

(See also: The Times, September 19th 2003, p.2; The Financial Times, September 19th 2003, p.6)

LABOUR'S GAMBLE ON CHOICE MAY BE A BAD CALL

N. Timmins

The Financial Times, September 11th 2003, p.21

The article contrasts Labour and Conservative approaches to consumer choice in health and education. Labour is offering parents and patients limited choice within the state system. The Conservatives propose offering vouchers, which could be used to purchase school places and health care in the private sector. This plan would favour the middle classes who can afford to top up the voucher out of their own pockets.

(See also The Financial Times, September 9th 2003, p.3)

WILL THIS STRATEGY FUEL THE POVERTY DEBATE?

M. McCloskey

Scope, September 2003, p.17

Heat and light, the absence of which can cause disease or even death, are charged for irrespective of income or circumstances. Many people go without other basic necessities in order to heat and light their homes and therefore action needs to be taken against fuel poverty. The Department for Social Development is expected to issue a Fuel Poverty Strategy for Northern Ireland, but community and voluntary groups also need to be involved. Vulnerable members of communities need to be identified and supported, fuel suppliers must provide a range of payment and budgeting options. Children's charities must also consider the impact of fuel poverty on children's health and education.

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