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Welfare Reform on the Web (January 2006): Welfare state – UK

Britain meeting the global challenge: enterprise, fairness and responsibility: pre-budget report

London:  TSO, 2005 (Cm 6701)

From the welfare reform point of view, the pre-budget report:

  • sets out the government’s strategy for improving the supply of affordable housing
  • Announces an extension of Winter Fuel Payments for pensioners until 2010
  • Allocates an additional £300m over three years to enable pensioners on Pension Credit to have central heating installed free of charge
  • Allocates an additional £53m to the youth opportunity funds, enabling young people to secure the amenities they want in each local authority.
  • Announces a tax credits package to provide more certainty around awards while retaining the flexibility to respond to changes in people’s circumstances

Hit and myth efficiency

N. Lawson
Public Finance, Nov.25th-Dec.1st 2005, p.26-27

New Labour aims to improve public service efficiency through the introduction of competition, consumer choice and private sector provision.  However, this approach is not working.  Vulnerable groups are unable to capitalise on choice, and large private companies become entrenched as monopoly providers.  Author proposes an alternative approach to holding public services to account through collective public pressure.

Labour claims 1.1 million fall in number of socially excluded

L. Ward
Guardian, November 29th 2005, p.11

The number of adults defined as socially excluded in Britain has fallen by more than 1.1 million since Labour came to power in 1997, but 3.6 million remain beset by a host of disadvantages.  The situation of younger adults and couples with children is improving, but other groups, such as single childless men, are still struggling.

Labour must fight inequality to win, says Blair adviser

P. Wintour
Guardian December 13th 2005, p.12

Reports that one of Tony Blair’s closest advisers is calling for a rethink of government education and taxation policy.  He argues that the creation of independent trust schools will disadvantage poor children unless balanced by the direction of greater targeted funding towards them.  Taxation should be made more redistributive, as the present system bears down harder on the poor than the rich.

A more equal society?: New Labour, poverty, inequality and exclusion

J. Hills and K. Stewart (editors)
Bristol: Policy Press, 2005

The book evaluates Labour policy towards poverty and social exclusion between 1997 and 2004. It considers the challenges the government faced, examines the policies that were chosen and the targets set for them, and assesses results.

Transitions:  young adults with complex needs

Social Exclusion Unit
Wetherby: ODPM Publications, 2005

Report aims to identify how public services can better fit the needs of 16- to 25-year-olds besieged by problems with poor housing, homelessness, substance misuse, mental illness, poor health, low educational attainment and long-term unemployment.  At present programmes are often targeted on a specific age group or a specific problem; they do not address the needs of 16- to 25-year-olds in the round to ensure an effective transition from youth to adult services.  Report calls for the provision of holistic services that can manage complex problems and encourage engagement with service providers.  In co-ordinating and delivering such services, a trusted adult (a mentor, personal adviser or key worker) will be crucial.

What is says on the tin

T. Shifrin
Public Finance, Nov.25th-Dec.1st 2005, p.22-25

Voluntary sector bodies are keen to extend their role in the provision of health services, social care, education, employment support and even correctional services.  However, they need support in the shape of long term contracts that offer full cost recovery.

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