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

BRITAIN HAS NO FIXED UNDERCLASS BUT THE FIGHT AGAINST POVERTY MUST GO ON

M. Dean

Society Guardian, August 11th 2004, p.5

Unlike the US, the UK does not have a permanent underclass. People move in and out of poverty in the UK. However, compared with the rest of Europe, the British rate of persistent poverty - defined as those living at least three years out of the last four in poverty - remains stubbornly high. The author suggests it is time to lift fairness and social justice higher up the political agenda.

CREEPING CONDITIONALITY IN THE UK: FROM WELFARE RIGHTS TO CONDITIONAL ENTITLEMENTS?

P. Dwyer

Canadian Journal of Sociology, vol.29, 2004, p.265-287

The article explores Britain's increasingly Third Way policy of welfare being a conditional entitlement rather than a right. It details the shift from a welfare society to an active society before giving specific examples of the policy. These include the Job Centre Plus initiative, where anybody claiming unemployment benefit must take part in a work focused interview with an assigned advisor as a condition of eligibility and the Housing Benefit (Withholding of Payment) Bill, which allows the right to housing benefit to be withdrawn from individuals convicted twice in a three year period by the courts of anti-social behaviour. Issues such as the rights of healthcare staff to refuse treatment for violent patients and mothers only being eligible for the Welfare Food Scheme if they register with certain healthcare professionals are also discussed. The article concludes by arguing that as the conditional entitlement to welfare increases the idea of welfare rights is continually undermined.

DO PUBLIC INTEREST COMPANIES FORM A THIRD WAY WITHIN PUBLIC SERVICES?

R. Prabhakar

British Journal of Politics and International Relations, vol.6, 2004, p.353-369

Public interest companies such as Network Rail and foundation hospitals are supposed to display a degree of independence from the State and to deliver a public service in the public interest. Paper explores the question of whether public interest companies provide the centre left with a Third Way for service delivery apart from private firms and traditional public enterprises.

THE INFLUENCE OF DYNAMIC PERSPECTIVES ON POVERTY ANALYSIS AND ANTI-POVERTY POLICY IN THE UK

P. Alcock

Journal of Social Policy, vol.33, 2004, p.395-416

The article provides an overview of academic debates and recent empirical research on the dynamic perspective on poverty and anti-poverty policy. It concludes that dynamic analysis and the role of agency (individual responsibility) have had a significant impact on both academic debate and policy interventions aimed at eradicating poverty, but this should not lead to the abandonment of structural reforms aimed at redistributing resources to the poor.

WEALTH GAP 'HAS WIDENED UNDER LABOUR'

S. Johnson

Financial Times, August 3rd 2004, p.4

Labour has presided over seven years of widening income and wealth inequality since coming to power. The gap between rich and poor has expanded and social mobility has decreased, according to the think-tank the Institute of Public Policy Research. The IPPR suggest that the UK has become less equal since 1997, with any improvements achieved by "stealth". The report found that people's lives were still largely determined by the social class of their parents and their ethnic background.

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