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Welfare Reform on the Web (February 2004): Welfare State - UK

IT'S ABOUT MORE THAN MONEY

M. Ivory

Community Care, Jan.8th-14th 2004, p.24-26

Report of an interview with Audit Commission Head James Strachan, in which he explains his plans for extending its role to one of improving public services through consultation with recipients. He also argues for deregulation, with the Commission focusing on failing councils while leaving successful ones alone.

POVERTY IN BRITAIN: THE IMPACT OF GOVERNMENT POLICY SINCE 1997

H. Sutherland, T. Sefton and D. Piachaud

York: York Publishing, 2003

The study shows that relative poverty fell between 1996/97 and 2000/01, largely as a result of improved employment rates and benefit levels. However, the overall impact was less substantial when compared with a poverty line that rose with median incomes. The tax and benefit changes analysed have a major impact, but most of this is needed simply to keep up with a moving target. More redistribution will be needed each year to maintain the progress which has been made.

SUPPORTING FAMILIES: THE FINANCIAL COSTS AND BENEFITS OF CHILDREN SINCE 1975

S. Adam and M. Brewer

Bristol: Policy Press, 2004

The report analyses how the amount of child-contingent support to which households are entitled has changed since 1975, and relates this to changes in taxes and benefits, the characteristics of households with children and the costs of children. Total spending on child-contingent support has risen from £10bn to £22bn per year since 1975. Over time, child-contingent support has become more related to parents' income, as means-tested programmes and tax credits have grown. Changes to programmes have favoured lone parents over couples and young children over older children. They have emphasised the first child in a household, and paid support direct to the main carer in couples.

WE'VE GOT THE POWER

H. Kitchin

Public Finance, Jan.9th-15th 2004, p.18-21

Under the Local Government Act 2000, councils have a general power to promote the economic, social and environmental well being of their communities. They are now beginning to use this power in a variety of ways, including a PFI scheme for residential homes for older people in Greenwich, developing an anti-drugs strategy in Camden, and affordable housing provision in Dorset.

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