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Welfare Reform on the Web (October 1999): Welfare State - UK

2020: A WELFARE ODYSSEY: A COMMENTARY ON 'PRINCIPLES INTO PRACTICE' AND THE REFORM PROGRAMME

K. Puttick

Industrial Law Journal, vol. 28, 1999, p. 190-196

Government proposals involve three new approaches to State Welfare. First, an attack on social exclusion and poverty; second, the development of a 'single work-focused gateway' through which all claimants must pass before they can access state welfare; and thirdly the development of new public and private sector partnership for insuring citizens against unemployment and in retirement. This commentary considers the implications of the reform programme and discusses the legislative programme for attaining its objectives.

DARLING CLAIMS WELFARE TO BE A MORAL CRUSADE

A. Frean and R. Watson

Times, July 19th 1999, p. 6

Reports speech by Alistair Darling arguing that ministers have a moral duty to reshape the welfare system. The welfare state needs to be modernised so that it helps people to help themselves and targets the greatest help on those in greatest need.

(See also Guardian, July 19th 1999, p. 4)

LABOUR REVOLT WINS RETHINK ON WELFARE REFORM

T. Baldwin

Times, July 5th 1999, p. 1

At the end of the Party's National Policy Forum meeting in Durham, plans for a national debate over the summer to review welfare policy from first principles were announced. The decision was made after it became clear that the leadership was facing defeat over a series of critical amendments to policy documents. These included demands for the restoration of the link between pensions and earnings and benefits for 16 and 17 year olds, the safeguarding of child benefit, a rethink over the treatment of disability benefit claimants, and giving state support to carers.

(See also Independent, July 5th 1999, p. 4)

LOCAL INCLUSION: CASE STUDIES OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT ROLE IN PROMOTING SOCIAL JUSTICE AND SOCIAL INCLUSION

Local Government Association

London: 1999

Publication provides some examples of what councils are doing to promote social inclusion in their areas. The case study examples demonstrate the breadth of local government activity in this area, and the extent of partnership working. Local authorities are active in the realms of health promotion, education, training and employment, social regeneration, community safety, transport provision and anti-poverty initiatives.

RISK AND THE WELFARE STATE

P. Taylor - Gooby and others

British Journal of Sociology, vol. 50, 1999, p. 177-194

Article discusses whether people reject welfare state solutions to problems of risk in the context of research on the perceptions and behaviour of people buying and selling their homes, considering provision for long-term care needs and defrauding social security. Individual responses endorse the continued provision of state welfare in order to meet unprovided risks alongside disenchantment with the record of both state and private professionals and planners and awareness that state retrenchment requires greater individual responsibility for meeting one's own needs.

TACKLING POVERTY AND EXTENDING OPPORTUNITY

R. Gurumurthy

Political Quarterly, vol. 70, 1999, p. 341-345

Points out some important gaps in the government's strategy to root out poverty, in particular the need to focus on helping people across the key transitions between life stages and the need for greater knowledge of who is at risk, and of what kinds of support are effective and appropriate.

THE THIRD WAY IS NOT JUST HOT AIR AND SPIN

D. Milliband

Daily Telegraph, July 15th 1999, p. 28

Policies of the Third Way involve:

  • a shift back towards collective solutions to problems, but with the state acting as much as enabler and facilitator of services as provider;
  • the insistence that low-paid jobs are better than no jobs, but with a guarantee, through the minimum wage and reform of the tax and benefits system, that anyone who works will be helped out of poverty;
  • the development of a core concept of rights being matched by responsibilities as being essential to a functioning welfare state;
  • the belief that, while global forces will increase pressure towards social polarisation, they can be countered through public policy.

WELFARE: NEEDS, RIGHTS AND RISKS

M. Langan (editor)

London: Routledge, 1998

Addresses the question of how people get access to social welfare in the UK today. Explores the public, political and professional definitions, constructions and conflicts about who should receive social welfare, and under what conditions. Focuses on the concepts of need, rights and risk in the organisation of social welfare. Exploring a number of welfare services, examines how individuals and groups come to be defined as in need, at risk, or deserving of welfare. Stresses that such processes of defining access to welfare have become increasingly contested and problematic at the end of the twentieth century.

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