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Welfare Reform on the Web (June 2005): Welfare State - UK

2011 Census to ask: how much do you earn?

R. Ford

The Times, May 18th 2005, p.4

Millions of people could be required to give details of their earnings in the next census in an attempt by the Government to uncover the extent of deprivation in England and Wales. They could also be asked to provide details of their income in moves that are likely to be controversial and raise fears about a Big Brother state.

Choice and jobs challenge for public services


Labour Research, vol.94, May 2005, p.11-13

The Labour government has plans to cut 100,000 public service jobs. It is also committed to providing greater choice in the delivery of public services. Unions are concerned that it is not possible to achieve both objectives without undermining service quality.

Choice, voice and public services

Public Administration Select Committee

London: TSO, 2005 (House of Commons papers, session 2004/05; HC49)

Report assesses the effectiveness of the government's plans to give service users more choice in education, health care and social housing and more say about the way that services are provided. Committee found that the rhetoric of choice often exceeds the reality. The first choice option may be unavailable, leading to disappointment and disillusionment. For choice to be effective, extra capacity must be created at appropriate places. This is costly and often cannot be achieved quickly. The report also warns that the introduction of additional private sector providers can generate extra costs and lead to the creaming-off of the less difficult cases. Calls for all public services to offer a guaranteed minimum standard, since a choice between several poor services is no real choice at all.

Money, money, money: is it still a rich manís world?

K. Bellamy and K. Rake

London: Fawcett Society, 2005

The New Labour government has improved the lives of many women through its anti-poverty and work-life balance reforms. However, women remain disadvantaged economically. They are more likely to be dependent on social security benefits, trapped in low-paid work, unable to save for their retirement, so that many women pensioners are poor, and obliged to leave the labour market because of caring responsibilities. Calls on the Labour government in its third term to adopt gender equality as an explicit policy target.

New Labour's approach to the voluntary sector: independence and the meaning of partnership

J. Lewis

Social Policy and Society vol. 4, 2005, p. 121 - 131

While terms and conditions have improved for service providing voluntary organisations, there are unresolved issues around partnership equality, policy agenda setting and the role of third sector organisations at local level. This paper examines the issues against a backdrop of New Labour's partnership approach and service contracting.

Queen's Speech 17 May 2005

Sets out the Government's policies and proposed legislative programme for the new Parliamentary session: Key points are as follows:

  • Education: parents will get power to close failing schools. Parents will be given more control over their children's education including the power to open new state schools and close failing ones. The Government also intends to press ahead with its controversial academy programme, which aims to see private sponsors running 200 state schools by 2010. There will be a renewed focus on basic standards in English and mathematics.
  • Families: maternity and childcare bonus. Young families struggling to balance work and caring responsibilities are the focus of government moves to improve maternity rights and childcare. An education and childcare bill is intended, as well as the introduction of a range of school measures. The legislation will require local authorities to "secure sufficient childcare to meet the needs of their local area".
  • Health: NHS reform to include a white paper on primary care introducing greater choice and quality for patients and cutting waiting lists. Its main provisions are unspecified at present, but the government says it aims to increase choice for NHS patients, including through greater private provision.
  • Incapacity benefit: the government intends to set out proposals for reforming incapacity benefit in a Green Paper in July. Controversially it aims to do more to differentiate between those claiming incapacity benefit who are unlikely ever to work again, and those who, with more help, could.
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