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

Capital to the rescue? New Labour’s business solutions to old welfare problems

K. Farnsworth

Critical Social Policy, vol.26, 2006, p.817-842

The New Labour government has viewed business people, business associations and individual firms as a panacea for the problems perceived to exist in the welfare state. It has sought to embed business in the welfare regime in three different ways. First, New Labour has sought to gear social policy more towards the needs of business in the hope of increasing the competitiveness of the UK in the global marketplace. Secondly, the government hoped to improve public sector efficiency by increasing the inputs of business people and firms into service provision. Finally, the government looked to private firms as important new sources of finance for welfare services. However, its hopes of improving welfare services by the embedding of business culture, business people and private enterprise into social policy have repeatedly been dashed.

The Social Exclusion Action Plan

I. Morgensen

Working Brief, issue 178, 2006, p.14-15

Government has launched a new Social Exclusion Action Plan targeted on children in care, families with complex problems such as drug or alcohol abuse, people with mental health problems and teenagers at risk of pregnancy. The new plan focuses on: 1) better identification of people at risk and earlier intervention; 2) increased flexibility for budget-holding lead professionals; 3) promotion of multi-agency working; and 4) systematically identifying “what works” through an initiative to rate programmes on their effectiveness. This article presents a range of initial reactions to the plan.

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