Category Archives: Family policy and welfare

The Welfare state: A Case of Plus cá change?

Anthony McCashin
Anthony McCashin

by Anthony McCashin, Trinity College Dublin

Paul Pierson shaped the terms on which we considered the sources and scale of welfare state change. Would a critical review of Pierson’s claims still endorse them? Our Policy & Politics article entitled How much change? Pierson and the welfare state revisited attempts to answer this question.

First, welfare state resilience: while appropriate, perhaps, to Pierson’s analysis of ‘early’ retrenchers like Reagan in the US, or Swedish Social Democrats in the 1990s, this term no longer reflects the variety and depth of change – especially in social security. Second, globalisation: here Pierson is on more certain ground. On the one hand, there are strong nationally based drivers of change- such as ageing and health care costs. On the other, individual welfare states have quite distinct economies (and institutions) and these filter the influence of globalisation. Welfare states remain specific and diverse and are not flattened into conformity by globalisation. Continue reading The Welfare state: A Case of Plus cá change?

Setting the stage for another reform? Changing narratives around disability benefit recipients in the UK

Zach Morris
Zach Morris

by Zach Morris, School of Social Welfare, University of Berkeley, USA

The Department of Work and Pensions recently released the statistics for those who died after being found “fit for work,” and thus ineligible for disability benefits in the U.K. The Guardian reports that nearly 90 people a month are dying after being found fit for work. Caution is due, however, before interpreting the outcome of the assessment process as the cause of these deaths. Yet, the emergence of these figures and their wide reporting in the press shed light on how the public is coming to perceive the country’s recent experiment with disability benefit cuts. The growing attention to this issue could lead to increasing support for disability benefit recipients, which, as reported in my P&P article on the topic and shown below, has been in decline for many years. If so, now may prove an opportune time for political entrepreneurs Continue reading Setting the stage for another reform? Changing narratives around disability benefit recipients in the UK

The Conservative government’s promotion of financialisation is transforming citizenship in the UK

Craig Berry
Craig Berry

Craig Berry is Deputy Director of the Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Sheffield. His latest article ‘Citizenship in a financialised society: financial inclusion and the state before and after the crash’ is available on fast track.

While the New Labour-ish language of ‘financial inclusion’ and ‘asset-based welfare’ has been quietly eschewed, since 2010 the Conservative Party has continued its predecessor’s agenda around promoting more extensive and intensive participation in the financial system, through asset ownership, in order to enable individuals to play an enhanced role in ensuring their own long term financial security.

This agenda is, understandably, usually assessed in terms of the impact on financial well-being. Yet its implications for the meaning and practice of citizenship may be just as significant Continue reading The Conservative government’s promotion of financialisation is transforming citizenship in the UK

Summer budget 2015: Lower income families hit by housing policy changes

Chair of the Policy & Politics Board Alex Marsh reviews the implications of the proposal to cut housing association rents by 1% each year for the next four years, announced as part of the recent government summer budget. This post was originally published on the Policy Press blog.

Alex Marsh
Alex Marsh

George Osborne’s recent “emergency” budget proposed many changes to state support to lower income households in a bid to fulfil the Conservatives’ manifesto pledge to cut £12bn from welfare spending.

One unexpected aspect of this package was the proposal to cut housing association rents by 1% each year for the next four years.

This proposal was justified with reference to social housing rent rises over the last few years. These have pushed up the already substantial housing benefit bill. Households have needed greater state assistance in order to afford the rents being set. Bearing down on rents over the next few years will, it is claimed, both reduce the housing benefit bill and force social landlords to deliver efficiency gains. Continue reading Summer budget 2015: Lower income families hit by housing policy changes

In Defence of Welfare – why the welfare state is good for us

Elke Heins
Elke Heins

Elke Heins is a Lecturer in Social Policy, University of Edinburgh.

After the success of In Defence of Welfare: The Impacts of the Spending Review published in 2011, the UK Social Policy Association (SPA) has produced a follow-up volume in the run-up to the General Election 2015 to make the case for why we need the welfare state. Around 50 UK social policy experts give their verdict on key developments in British social policy over the past five austerity-dominated years. In one of these short contributions to In Defence of Welfare 2 I argue together with Chris Deeming that welfare and well-being are inextricably linked.

Well-being is a concept that has gained significant momentum since the global economic crisis both internationally and within the UK as the measurement efforts by diverse actors, ranging from the OECD and EU to various government and non-government bodies, to replace the one-dimensional GDP with multi-dimensional well-being indicators demonstrate. Measuring individual and societal Continue reading In Defence of Welfare – why the welfare state is good for us

Policy, politics, health and housing in the UK by Danny Dorling

Terry Robinson [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Terry Robinson [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
Paul Burton introduces Danny Dorling’s paper in Policy & PoliticsPolicy, politics, health and housing in the UK.

You know you’re in for a bit of a treat when Danny Dorling begins by saying he’s written something that is not in the standard journal style; and so it turns out in his paper ‘Policy, politics, health and housing in the UK’.  His wide ranging analysis connects recent developments in UK housing policy with a variety of current and possible public health impacts and offers some thoughts on the political motivations of those responsible for these developments.  As usual he offers a fine example of engaged scholarship that avoids the piety, academic sniping and wilful opacity that characterises some work in this field.

In a nutshell, since the end of the last millennium we have seen a pronounced rise in private landlordism so that one quarter of all families with children in Britain now live in a home owned by a private landlord, mainly because of transfers of housing from the public sector and the emergence of a tax and welfare regime that underwrites many of the costs of private landlordism.  Dorling acknowledges that this policy direction Continue reading Policy, politics, health and housing in the UK by Danny Dorling

What does the impact of financialisation on the welfare state tell us about citizenship?

Craig Berry
Craig Berry

Craig Berry discusses his article ‘Citizenship in a financialised society: financial inclusion and the state before and after the crash. Craig is Deputy Director of the Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Sheffield.

All recent governments in the UK have pursued ‘financial inclusion’ at the individual level, as part of the broader agenda around ‘asset-based welfare’, that is, efforts to enable individuals to play an enhanced role in ensuring their own long term financial security through asset ownership.

Financial inclusion ostensibly refers to the ability of individuals to participate in the financial system. At the most basic level, it means access to banking services. Often, the benefits of financial inclusion have been articulated in terms of enabling and incentivising individuals to save. Invariably, however, the aim is to ensure individuals are able to access credit (the economic opposite Continue reading What does the impact of financialisation on the welfare state tell us about citizenship?