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Social Policy Review 23

Social Policy Review 23: Analysis and Debate in Social Policy, 2011

Chris Holden
Majella Kilkey
Gaby Ramia
Copyright Date: 2011
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  • Book Info
    Social Policy Review 23
    Book Description:

    This edition of Social Policy Review presents an extensive analysis of the coalition government's social policies. In an expanded first section, experts in a range of policy areas analyse the rationale behind, and implications of, government reforms, whilst the second section examines education policy in an international context. It is essential reading for social policy academics and students and for anyone who is interested in the implications of government policy.

    eISBN: 978-1-84742-909-4
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Notes on contributors
    (pp. v-viii)
  4. Part One: Symposium on the Coalition government

    • [Part One: Introduction]
      (pp. 1-6)
      Chris Holden and Majella Kilkey

      Never let a good crisis go to waste. That would seem to be the logic of the Conservative-led Coalition which, having come to office in May 2010, has embarked on a profound restructuring of the welfare state and the public sector more broadly. While there is much continuity with previous New Labour policy, there are important differences and the scale of change envisaged is substantial. Public expenditure across the board is being drastically reduced and the welfare system reshaped. Citizens are being left to rely more on themselves and an ambiguously defined ‘Big Society’, while being required to demonstrate that...

    • ONE Conservative social policy: from conviction to coalition
      (pp. 7-24)
      Hugh Bochel

      Although implied by the opinion polls during the course of the campaign, the result of the May 2010 General Election, and the first ‘hung’ Parliament for the United Kingdom for more than 35 years, came as a surprise to many. So too did the subsequent creation of the Coalition government by the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats. For the Conservative Party the return to government after 13 years in opposition came after a succession of leadership changes and attempts to make the Party more acceptable to the electorate. For the Liberal Democrats it was perhaps even more of a surprise,...

    • TWO Something old and blue, or red, bold and new? Welfare reform and the Coalition government
      (pp. 25-44)
      Jay Wiggan

      Despite previous indications that investment in public services would be safe in their hands, the onset of recession in 2008 provided an opportunity for Conservative politicians to advocate austerity in public spending and an intensification of market-led public service reform (Evans, 2010, p 13; HM Treasury, 2010a). It would be wrong, however, not to acknowledge the shift in language and focus of the Conservative Party prior to the 2010 General Election. Keen to develop a framework which permitted a commitment to economic liberalism, the reinvigoration of self-reliance and a concern for social justice, leading modernisers drew on the work of...

    • THREE The Conservative Party and the ‘Big Society’
      (pp. 45-62)
      Nick Ellison

      Despite continuing scepticism ‘on the doorstep’, enthusiasm for the ‘Big Society’, at least among key elements of the Conservative Party, appears to be increasing. This chapter first looks at the changing context of Tory politics and specifically the origins and nature of the Big Society as set out by contemporary Conservative thinkers – and think tanks. Thereafter the discussion considers how well ideas about the Big Society articulate with the principles that underpin the Coalition government’s social policies. In view of the current financial crisis (skilfully transformed by the Conservative–Liberal Democratic Coalition government into a crisis of the public...

    • FOUR The age of responsibility: social policy and citizenship in the early 21st century
      (pp. 63-84)
      Ruth Lister

      A few decades ago Maurice Roche concluded an influential book on citizenship with the observation that ‘the politics of citizenship has for generations formulated its goals, fought its battles and found its voice in the discourse of rights. In the late twentieth century’, he argued, ‘it also needs to be able to speak, to act, and to understand itself in the language of citizens’ personal responsibility and social obligation, in the discourse of duties as well as of rights’ (1992, p 246). Whatever the validity of that statement at the time, the politics of citizenship in the UK has subsequently...

    • FIVE Debating the ‘death tax’: the politics of inheritance tax in the UK
      (pp. 85-102)
      Rajiv Prabhakar

      This chapter looks at recent debates about inheritance tax in the UK. Politicians have often seemed reluctant to make the case for inheritance tax, and I consider how discussions of this tax have changed in the aftermath of the global financial crisis as well as the new governing coalition between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats. Although politicians are still wary of arguing for an increase in inheritance tax, centre-left politicians were more willing to resist Conservative calls to cut this tax. Liberal Democrat politicians were able to get the Conservatives to drop their plans to weaken inheritance tax as part...

    • SIX The debate about public service occupational pension reform
      (pp. 103-126)
      Edward Brunsdon and Margaret May

      Public service occupational pensions, covering some 20 per cent of the UK population, are currently under considerable pressure.¹ Journalists and politicians have been voluble in claiming that they are ‘unaffordable’, ‘unfair’, ‘gold-plated’ and the privileged element of a ‘pensions’ apartheid’ (see, for example, Cameron, 2008; Cable, 2009; Brummer, 2010). In more measured tones, academics, business lobbyists, think tanks and financial analysts have argued that they are in urgent need of reform. The Blair-Brown administrations accepted there were concerns and secured a number of negotiated adjustments to arrangements for new entrants. The changes now being advocated constitute a more radical agenda...

    • SEVEN Welfare to work after the recession: from the New Deals to the Work Programme
      (pp. 127-146)
      Dan Finn

      Over the past decade there has been a radical change in the British welfare state. In addition to its traditional role in assessing eligibility for and paying cash benefits, the social security system is now expected to play a far greater role in preparing working-age people for, and connecting them to, the labour market. The objective has been to create an active benefit system that reinforces work incentives and reduces costs and ‘welfare dependency’.

      There were three core components of the welfare to work strategy pursued by the previous Labour government. The first element involved the creation of an ‘employment...

    • EIGHT Lone parents and the Conservatives: anything new?
      (pp. 147-164)
      Tina Haux

      The phenomenon of lone parenthood continues to challenge policy makers for three main reasons: the high levels of benefit dependency and poverty and the potentially negative outcomes for children (Bradshaw, 2003). The response of past governments has differed over the past 30 years according to their respective ideological approaches, changes to the characteristics of lone parents, broader economic conditions as well as more general attitudinal changes in society. Under the last Conservative government lone parents ‘have been characterised not just as a social problem, but as a social threat, in terms of the amount of public money that is spent...

    • NINE A treble blow? Child poverty in 2010 and beyond
      (pp. 165-184)
      Kitty Stewart

      The aim of this chapter is to review developments that affected child poverty in 2010, and there is no shortage of things to say. Let us start with the good news. In March 2010 the UK took the unusual step of legislating to eradicate child poverty, placing a duty on the Secretary of State to meet four child poverty targets by 2020/21 (including a relative low income target), and requiring the UK government to produce a regular child poverty strategy as well as annual progress reports. After a general election during which all the major parties agreed on at least...

    • TEN The English NHS as a market: challenges for the Coalition government
      (pp. 185-206)
      Nicholas Mays

      ‘We will stop the top-down reorganisations of the NHS that have got in the way of patient care’ (HM Government, 2010, p 24). Despite this claim the Coalition government moved swiftly to publish a National Health Service (NHS) White Paper in July 2010 (Secretary of State for Health, 2010), mixing radical structural change with market policy continuity. The radical change involves removal of the customary intermediate tiers in the NHS between the national and local levels, and the replacement of primary care trusts (PCTs) with general practitioner (GP)-led commissioning consortia. Continuity is seen in the government’s commitment, echoing its New...

  5. Part Two: Education in international context

    • [Part Two: Introduction]
      (pp. 207-210)
      Gaby Ramia

      Given the importance of education to life opportunities, it is perhaps surprising that education has not been more prominent in social policy debate. In the contemporary UK context of welfare and general public sector cuts and restructuring, education stands as one of the main weapons against social and economic marginalisation and a means of re-fortifying progressive citizenship. Lest it only be seen in terms of protection against market excesses, however, education is also vital to national economies themselves, in particular to the building of their global competitiveness within the knowledge economy. As the chapters of this section ofSocial Policy...

    • ELEVEN Citizenship education in international perspective: lessons from the UK and overseas
      (pp. 211-232)
      Ben Kisby and James Sloam

      Social policy can be viewed as a branch of public policy that is particularly concerned with human welfare or perhaps human ‘well-being’, since ‘well-being is about how well peopleare, not how well theydo’ (Dean, 2006, p 1, original emphasis). It is therefore interested in a whole range of public policies that aim to improve welfare and well-being, for example, through meeting particular needs citizens have or improving their material conditions or seeking to promote certain forms of citizen behaviour, and it includes a wide variety of policy areas, such as social security, healthcare, housing, employment, pensions, social care,...

    • TWELVE “You’re only going to get it if you really shout for it”: education dispute resolution in the 21st century in England
      (pp. 233-256)
      Neville Harris

      Education is a field in which there are underlying tensions between individual rights and public resources. Levels of satisfaction with schools and further and higher education institutions expressed by users seem to be high in England (Ofsted, 2007; Ivens, 2008; HEFCE, 2010) but grievances are common. As education issues can impact directly on the interests of individual children they are especially likely to be viewed as serious by parents, and thus grievances have a tendency to be transformed into disputes (Adler et al, 2006, pp 44-5). Parents will ‘“fight for the rights” of their children’ (Ofsted, 2010, p 6; see...

    • THIRTEEN A sin of omission: New Zealand’s export education industry and foreign policy
      (pp. 257-280)
      Andrew Butcher and Terry McGrath

      Discussions of New Zealand’s export education policies and the welfare of its international students are rarely found within literature concerning its international relations and foreign affairs. We suggest that this is a great omission. But it is not a surprising one. New Zealand’s export education within trade policy is on quantifiable territory: data abounds on the economic impact of export education to the nation’s economy. A less measurable but more long-term impact is on how New Zealand’s place in the world is affected by its policies and practices toward international students. Such a view considers the nation’s relationships with its...

    • FOURTEEN Student security in the global education market
      (pp. 281-302)
      Simon Marginson and Erlenawati Sawir

      According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), in 2008, 3.3 million students were enrolled in tertiary education outside their country of citizenship for one year or more. From 2000 to 2008 the foreign student population grew at 11 per cent per year (OECD, 2010, p 315). Most of these students crossed national borders for educational purposes – such students are classified as ‘international students’ – although in some countries the data also included non-citizen permanent residents. More than four international students in ten enter English language countries (OECD, 2010, p 319).

      The identity of the education provider...

    • FIFTEEN Exporting policy: the growth of multinational education policy businesses and new policy ‘assemblages’
      (pp. 303-322)
      Stephen J. Ball

      In this chapter I address some particular aspects of global education policy, which are almost totally ignored in the current literatures on policy transfer and policy mobilities. That is, the role of policy as a profit opportunity for global edu-businesses, the ‘selling of policy’ and education services, and the participation of these businesses in national and international education policy communities (see Holden, 2009, on the export of public–private partnership [PPP]/private finance initiative [PFI] schemes in the health sector). I focus on some specific examples of these multinational education businesses (MNEBs),¹ and look at their business activities and some of...

  6. Index
    (pp. 323-336)
  7. Back Matter
    (pp. 337-337)