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

Social policy and politics

D. Piachaud

Political Quarterly, vol.76, 2005, p.350-356

After World War II, social policy in Britain focused on the development of the National Health Service, state education, social security and social housing. Since the post-War social services reforms, there has been a major reappraisal of their role and contribution. It has been shown that the determinants of health include water supply and sanitation, genetics, diet, exercise, smoking, drinking, and stress as well as the NHS. Similarly, educational achievement depends on genetics, parental support, peer group pressure, early years experience and aspirations as well as on schooling. As well as service provision, social policy must be concerned with modification of individual and family behaviour, for example through anti-smoking campaigns, interventions in the market economy, for example through minimum wage implementation, and interventions in civil society, for example through policing policy.

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