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Welfare Reform on the Web (August 2006): Welfare state - UK

Devolution, direct rule and neo-liberal reconstruction in Northern Ireland

G. Horgan

Critical Social Policy, vol.26, 2006, p.656-668

Society in Northern Ireland is deeply divided vertically through segregation, sectarianism and fear and horizontally between classes. The anticipated “peace dividend” has not materialised for people living in poverty who were also most affected by 30 years of civil conflict. Attempts by the devolved administration in power 2000-2002 to develop new public services have been reversed under Direct Rule by ministers strongly committed to their delivery through the private sector.

Devolving the heartland: making up a new social policy for the “South East”

A. Cochrane

Critical Social Policy, vol.26, 2006, p.685-696

The practical expression of devolution in England is to be found in the formation of new regional institutions such as regional assemblies and development agencies. Every region, including the South East, is now enjoined to improve its economic competitiveness and tackle social exclusion. Economic growth in the South East is being promoted by state investment in affordable housing and the creation of sustainable communities delivered through new urban development corporations.

Forging new “ways of life”? Social policy and nation building in devolved Scotland and Wales

G. Mooney and C. Williams

Critical Social Policy, vol.26, 2006, p.608-629

This paper looks at how social policy is being used to create a new sense of national identity in devolved Scotland and Wales. It points out that in the context of the devolved nations in the contemporary UK, there are competing national identities and no single agreed sense of what Scottishness or Welshness represents or what things might constitute Scottish or Welsh values. In both Scotland and Wales, traditional assumptions that core Welsh and Scottish values are social democratic and collectivist are being challenged by the emergence of a hegemonic neo-liberalism which claims that more entrepreneurial and competitive values are also essentially Welsh or Scottish. In both Scotland and Wales, New Labour is building a renewed sense of nation and national purpose around neo-liberal agendas.

A new deal for welfare: empowering people to work: consultation report

Department for Work and Pensions

London: TSO, 2006 (Cm 6859)

The welfare reform Green paper ‘A new deal for welfare: empowering people to work’ was published on 24 January 2006. It marked the third stage of the Government’s Welfare Reform programme, building upon the introduction of the New Deals in 1998 and the creation of Jobcentre Plus in 2002. The Green Paper proposals reflect the Government’s aspiration of an 80 per cent employment rate for people of working age. This report provides a summary of how the Government intends to take its proposals forward and captures the key issues raised by the respondents during the consultation period.

Should uptake of state benefits be used as indicators of need and disadvantage?

M. Rosato and D. O’Reilly

Health and Social Care in the Community, vol.14, 2006, p.294-301

Social security benefit uptake is increasingly being used to indicate relative needs of areas and to apportion resources between areas. This presupposes that it is a fair indicator, that extant levels are not influenced by social, geographical or cultural factors beyond the relationship these have with need. However, the present study shows that the relationship between those in need of benefit and the claimant count is confounded by such factors. Even after adjustment for variations in health, the present study shows that upake of Disability Living Allowance was significantly higher in some regions of the UK, and within those regions, was higher in more densely populated areas and lower in areas with large minority ethnic populations.

The Trickle-out effect

M. Hunter

Community Care, June 29th-July 5th 2006, p.26-27

Many voluntary sector services commissioned by central and local government are run at a loss. The funding shortfall is covered by the voluntary organisation, which ends up subsidising provision of statutory services. This problem has continued in spite of central government policy requiring that contracts with voluntary organisations cover administrative overheads as well as direct costs.

The Trojan horse of home ownership

P. Malpass

Roof, July/Aug. 2006, p.32-35

Article looks at the implications of the growth in home ownership in the UK for funding the welfare state. Home owners are sitting on £2.4 trillion of privately owned free equity. The question is how this wealth can be tapped by the government to fund welfare services in the future. The most likely approach for government is to make it clear to homeowners that they will be expected to draw down some of the equity locked up in their property to fund their own welfare requirements.

Word on the street

A. Klaushofer

Public Finance, July 7th-13th 2006, p.20-23

Central government is actively encouraging voluntary and community sector organisations to extend their role in public service provision. However voluntary organisations complain that local government is still not addressing their concerns about short-term contracts that do not cover the full costs of service provision.

“You’ve never had it so good”: the “problem” of the working class in devolved Scotland

A. Law and G. Mooney

Critical Social Policy, vol.26, 2006, p.523-542

Social class had been excised from the analysis of policymaking in Scotland and in the UK as a whole. The new Scotland which is being constructed post-devolution is conceived by both social scientists and the Scottish Executive as being a prosperous, professional society in which only a small but significant minority is trapped in poverty. This minority is then identified as a “problem” in relation to educational attainment, patterns of health and morbidity, and crime and anti-social behaviour. Class therefore continues to be a rarely spoken but pivotal element of contemporary Scottish governance.

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