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Welfare Reform on the Web (February 2000): Welfare State - UK

CAN GOVERNMENT GO HOLISTIC?

A. Margolis

Public Finance, Oct 8th-14th 1999, p. 20-21

Argues that to facilitate the development of joined-up solutions to the worst social problems, central and local government budgets should be organised not by functions or services but around outcomes and geographical areas. Local communities also need to be genuinely involved, with devolved decision-making and budgets.

GUARDED WELCOME FOR PROMISE TO CREATE `OPPORTUNITY FOR ALL'

D. Brindle

Guardian, Sept. 22nd 1999, p. 4

Welfare groups welcomed the government's promised anti-poverty campaign, but expressed disappointment that targets for improvement in key indicators were unquantified, and that ministers had not set a minimum income standard by which safety-net benefits would be linked to an income considered the least necessary to sustain an individual or family.

(See also Financial Times, Sept 22nd 1999, p. 13; Independent, Sept. 22nd 1999, p. 4.

LIVING ON THE EDGE

T. Travers

Public Finance, Oct 15th-21st 1999, p. 18-19

Underfunded and often demoralised, managers in a range of public services, such as inner city hospitals, schools in deprived areas and overworked social services departments, teeter on the edge of disaster on a daily basis.

MR DARLING'S HOLISTIC APPROACH TO SOCIAL POLICY

D. Aaronovitch

Independent, Sept. 22nd 1999, p. 3

Praises Labour government's strategy to reduce poverty as the most coherent social policy seen in the UK Since the war. It treats the problem of deprivation as an issue for all departments and agencies, rather than just those dealing with welfare.

NEW LABOUR TACKLES OLD POVERTY

Anon

Labour Research, vol. 88, no. 11, 1999, p. 15-16

The government has set out a wide range of targets to reduce poverty, the central one being to eradicate child poverty within 20 years. While poverty campaigners have welcomed the plans, they note that improvement will be hard to achieve without improvements in benefits.

OPPORTUNITY FOR ALL: TACKLING POVERTY AND SOCIAL EXCLUSION [Summary]

Department of Social Security

London: TSO, (Cm. 4445) 1999

First official audit of poverty paints a depressing picture of life for the quarter of the population with incomes below the poverty line of £132.00 per week. A third of all children live in poverty, and one fifth live in workless households. More than half of the 5-6 million people claiming income support, jobseekers' allowance or incapacity benefit have been dependent on benefits for more than two years, while thousands leave school every year without basic skills. Includes a wide range of indicators against which progress in combating poverty can be measured. Key indicators include:

  • a reduction in the number of children living in workless households over the economic cycle;
  • a reduction in the proportion living in low income households;
  • a reduction in the proportion living in poor housing;
  • an increase in the proportion of 19-year olds with two A-levels.

POVERTY, WELFARE AND THE DISCIPLINARY STATE

C. Jones and T. Novak

London: Routledge, 1999

Authors map out the dynamics of poverty over time and describe how the welfare state responds to that poverty. Argues that the poor are demonised, marginalised and blamed for their own predicament.

STAND AND DELIVER

G. Mather

Guardian, Oct. 11th 1999, p. 16

Argues that public services including the NHS and the social security system can be effectively improved by according consumers guaranteed and legally enforceable rights to a given level of service.

TIME TO SHAKE OFF THE 51ST STATE OF MIND

M. Prowse

Financial Times, Oct. 22nd 1999, p. 23

Argues that Britain should look to the leading European countries rather than the US for ideas about the reform of health care, education and social security.

TREATING POVERTY

J. Le Grand

Guardian, Sept. 21st 1999, p. 17

Reports that the role of the Department of Social Security is changing from alleviating poverty through cash benefits to preventing it from occurring in the first place. Strategies to tackle the risk factors that lead to poverty are long term, expensive to implement, and require partnership working between government ministries.

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