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Welfare Reform on the Web (June 2007): Welfare state - UK

British social policy 1945 to the present. 3rd ed.

H. Glennerster

Oxford: Blackwell, 2007

Covering the period from the end of the Second World War to the present day, the book focuses on the Welfare State to explore the myths that have shaped popular conceptions of social policy, and which continue to dominate current debates. This edition provides a new final chapter covering New Labour’s reform commitments for the new century and updates the book’s earlier chapters, tables, charts and select bibliography. It concludes that with a fast-aging population and major failures in the private pensions market, as well as the unabating demand for better health care, the state’s role looks more likely to grow than to decline.

Is there a future for the family?

G. Therborn

Public Policy Research, vol. 14, 2007, p. 41-46

It is argued that family members in Britain can currently fall into four traps:

  • Being born to parents who are failures, losers or marginals in the market
  • Being unable to have as many children as you want because of the workings of labour markets, housing markets, the education system and 'markets' for sexual partners
  • Experiencing difficulty in combining a work career and family life
  • The effects of population ageing, where a large generation of frail elderly will be dependent on a small working generation

No market economy is equipped to deal with these problems, which need to be resolved by a 'caring' state. 'Caring' would have to include monitoring, surveillance and sanctions, as well as provision of public childcare, extension of parental leave, promotion of flexible labour markets, and introduction of a 'living wage' for all.

UK work/family balance policies and gender equality, 1997-2005

J. Lewis and M. Campbell

Social Politics, vol.14, 2007, p. 4-30

Since 1997, the New Labour government in the UK has developed policies to address the issue of work/family balance in the form of childcare services, parental leave rights, and the right of parents of young children to request flexible working patterns. This article examines the policy aims and nature of these different approaches and assesses how far they promote gender equality and offer a genuine choice to men and women.

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