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

Consultation paper on the Scotland-wide free bus scheme for older and disabled people

Scottish Executive Edinburgh: 2005

Consultation paper gives details on how the Executive plans to extend existing local restricted bus entitlements to allow older and disabled people unlimited free bus travel at any time of the day throughout Scotland. The new national scheme will be operated by Transport Scotland and will cost a maximum of 159m in 2006/07. The scheme will be an application of the new entitlement card, which is intended to allow members of the public to access an increasing number of services through a single card.

Fear of change is a barrier to continued prosperity

J. Hutton

Independent, November 14th 2005, p.31

Two weeks into office, the new Work and Pensions Secretary sets out his vision of modern social welfare provision and emphasises his commitment to the government's manifesto agenda, including incapacity benefit reform.

New Labour's citizens: activated, empowered, responsibiliized, abandoned?

J. Clarke

Critical Social Policy, vol.25, 2005, p.447-463

Article explores some of the dynamics of the remaking of relationships between state and citizens that can be traced in New Labour's distinctive enthusiasm for citizenship, concentrating on the four processes of activation, empowerment, responsibilization and abandonment. New Labour has been committed to transforming citizens from passive recipients of state assistance to active self-sustaining individuals. Activation of citizens has manifested itself in the New Deals and other initiatives such as the expert patients programme. The government has also sought to empower citizens through the choice agenda, which redefines them as demanding consumers of public services. The mechanism of consumer choice is viewed as the motor for public service reform and improvement. Under New Labour, citizens have also been redefined as having social responsibilities as well as rights. They ideally fulfil these responsibilities by becoming hard working individuals who make reasonable choices and avoid "bad" behaviour such as binge drinking or over-eating. Finally, in a sense New Labour has also abandoned its citizens through the dismantling of systems of social protection that defended them against the vagaries of the market.

Redistributing profit and loss: the new economics of the market and social welfare

P. Beresford

Critical Social Policy, vol.25, 2005, p.464-482

In the past 25 years the market has penetrated social welfare services through the introduction of out-sourcing, privatisation and competition between providers. This has freed private companies to make large profits from public service provision. However, the failings of privatised welfare have also been passed back to the state as additional costs. These include damage to the health of children through poor quality market-provided school meals and deaths from MRSA caused by short-comings in privatised hospital cleaning services. Article concludes by suggesting that the alternative rights based approach to social welfare provision developed by new social movements of disabled people and welfare service users may be a more positive basis for future social policy.

Social entrepreneurs and social inclusion: building capacity or delivering national priorities?

D. Turner and S. Martin

International Journal of Public Administration, vol.28, 2005, p.797-806

The current UK government's disenchantment with local authority youth services is symptomatic of a broader shift away from monopolistic state welfare provision in favour of increasing involvement of community and voluntary sector organisations. Programmes like the Neighbourhood Support Fund (NSF), a flagship initiative designed to combat the social exclusion of disaffected young people in deprived urban areas, provide new sources of funding for voluntary organisations but also present them with significant challenges. In particular, they have to submit to far more intensive performance monitoring than ever before and to display managerial skills that have not traditionally been seen as one of their strengths.

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