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

BEGGING QUESTIONS: STREET-LEVEL ECONOMIC ACTIVITY AND SOCIAL POLICY FAILURE

H. Dean (editor)

Policy Press, 1999

The resurgence of begging in Britain can be attributed to widening social inequality and shrinking welfare support. Beggars have generally experienced a disrupted family background, substance abuse, exclusion from the labour market and institutionalisation, alone or in combination. Begging is an extremely hazardous and unrewarding occupation, and beggars are vulnerable to abuse, predation and physical violence both from passers-by and other street people. In practice, it would seem that attempts to sweep beggars off the streets are likely to be wholly ineffectual unless something is done about the extreme poverty and failure of our social institutions that are associated with begging in the first place.

FOYER TO THE FUTURE

J. Freedland

Guardian, August 20th 1999, p. 25

Suggests that government will be looking to the voluntary sector to implement elements of its welfare reform programme.

HOLIDAY IS OVER FOR MAN WITH A MISSION

P. Riddell and P. Webster

Times, Sept. 2nd 1999, p. 8-9

In an interview with the Times, Tony Blair argues that the root of the problems besetting public services such as health and education was that money had been invested for a time, but then budgets had been cut due to downturns in government finances. New Labour is committed to remedying this by funding public services consistently over time in a programme of sustained investment planned for at least three years after the next election.

LONE MOTHERS AND PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT: A CONTRADICTION IN POLICY?

K. Standing

Journal of Social Policy, vol. 28, 1999, p. 479-495

Article uses data from a small-scale qualitative study of lone mothers' involvement in their children's schooling to highlight the inherent contradictions between UK education and welfare policies in relation to lone motherhood. On the one hand, lone mothers are encouraged into paid employment, while on the other they are implored to 'help' in (and out of) the classroom. Whilst lone mothers are made scapegoats for all society's ills, parental involvement schemes are seen as solutions to social problems.

MINISTERS TO START ANTI-POVERTY DRIVE

C. Brown

Independent, August 23rd 1999, p. 4

Reports that the government has began an offensive to try and win back its core support with a pledge to take 1.25 million people out of poverty by the next general election. Practical measures making a real difference include the national minimum wage, increases in child benefits, extra winter fuel payments for pensioners and the Working Families Tax Credit.

(See also Guardian, August 23rd 1999, p. 4)

MONITORING POVERTY AND SOCIAL EXCLUSION: LABOUR'S INHERITANCE

C. Howarth et al.

London: New Policy Institute/Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 1998

Built around 46 'key indicators' based on statistical data from a wide range of sources. These have been drawn together to provide a solid framework against which progress in reducing poverty can be authoritatively and independently monitored.

(For summary see New Review of the Low Pay Unit, no. 56, 1999, p. 13-16)

A NUCLEAR EXPLOSION OF CASH COULD TRULY RESCUE THE POOR

P. Toynbee

Guardian, Sept. 15th 1999, p. 20

Proposes massive government investment in health and social care and education initiatives for children born into poverty in order to break the cycle of deprivation.

POVERTY FIRST HAND: POOR PEOPLE SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES

P. Beresford et al

London: CPAG, 1999

A unique account of poor people's own analysis of poverty; its definition, causes and effects; their views on government and media treatment of poverty; what policies are needed and what part poor people want to play in them. It is based on a two year participatory project meeting nationwide with groups of people with direct experience of poverty, including lone parents, disabled people, unemployed people, older people, young offenders, homeless people, and people on benefits and low incomes.

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