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Welfare reform on the Web (October 2006): Social security - UK - New Deal

A safety net or ties that bind? Women, welfare and self-employment

S Marlow

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol.26, 2006, p.397-410

This article offers a detailed analysis of the experiences of three lone mothers considering the transition from benefit dependency to formal self-employment. It finds that the current welfare-to-work regime discourages such women from entering formal self-employment and positively encourages informal working. Under current social security rules, any business venture must operate for more than 16 hours per week 52 weeks per year. This rules out a tentative part-time testing of the market to assess the risk involved and precludes the use of self-employment as a flexible option that can be matched to household needs and caring responsibilities.

Welfare delivery: high quality service and sustained employment

J. Hutton

Working Brief, issue 176, 2006, p.13-15

The New Labour government is developing a new approach to welfare provision based on tailored support to help people back into work, combined with new obligations for jobseekers to actively engage in finding work and improve their employability. The emerging system of devolved active welfare needs to be managed within a framework that offers:

  • Incentives to reward employment service providers who take on difficult cases
  • Flexibility to develop local solutions
  • Performance monitoring, with appropriate sanctions and rewards
  • Personalisation of services
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