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Social Policy Review 25

Social Policy Review 25: Analysis and debate in social policy, 2013

Gaby Ramia
Kevin Farnsworth
Zoë Irving
Copyright Date: 2013
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  • Book Info
    Social Policy Review 25
    Book Description:

    The field of social policy has a rich history but policies on the ground are undergoing intensive change. Governments around the world are responding to political, economic and financial pressures, many of them linked to the global economic crisis. National agendas typically have social policy at or close to the centre. This latest edition of Social Policy Review presents an up-to-date and diverse review of the best in social policy scholarship. It brings together research by an exciting range of internationally renowned authors and examines important debates in British and international social policy. This edition includes a special focus in the third part on work, employment and insecurity. Social Policy Review is essential reading for social policy academics and students and for anyone who is interested in the social and economic implications of government policy.

    eISBN: 978-1-4473-1284-0
    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-x)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. xi-xii)
    Gaby Ramia

    Social Policy Reviewis an annual publication of the Social Policy Association (SPA), a long-standing and respected British learned society. The SPA has continued to thrive in the last 12 months. One excellent indicator of its continued health and growth is an internationalisation agenda. In her welcome to delegates of the SPA Conference at the University of York in July 2012, the Head of the York Department of Social Policy and Social Work acknowledged the historical significance of the meeting. It was the first time that the SPA Conference was to be held jointly with the East Asian Social Policy...

  5. Part One: Contemporary debates and developments in the UK

    • [Part One: Introduction]
      (pp. 1-2)
      Gaby Ramia

      Part One deals with a wide span of welfare issues in the UK, with a focus on current and ongoing policy developments. These include: universal credit; fuel poverty; climate change policy; health policy, in particular, developments in relation to the National Health Service (NHS); the financing of later life and especially pensions; adult social care; housing equity; and ‘the politics of old age’.

      These issues are covered in four chapters. The authors explore policy interconnections and the politics behind policymaking as the British government responds in its own ways to widespread need, growing inequality and other social problems in the...

    • ONE Introducing Universal Credit
      (pp. 3-22)
      Paul Spicker

      Universal Credit is an ambitious reform intended to unify means-tested benefits for people of working age. The idea of simplifying and unifying benefits attracted strong support at the outset, but growing doubts about the practical viability and the detailed operation of the scheme have raised questions about what its impact will be. There is a risk in the short term that the system will crash, but in the longer term, defects in concept and design may prove just as important.

      There are times when social policy analysts have little choice but to get down to the detail, and the discussion...

    • TWO Reconciling fuel poverty and climate change policy under the Coalition government: Green Deal or no deal?
      (pp. 23-46)
      Carolyn Snell and Harriet Thomson

      There are two dimensions to energy policy: climate change is commonly associated with theuseof non-renewable forms of energy and subsequent greenhouse gas emissions, whereas fuel poverty is often associated with theunderuseor excessive cost of household energy. In the UK, there are legally binding targets in place to both reduce fuel poverty and address climate change.

      This chapter considers recent policy changes relevant to climate change mitigation and the alleviation of fuel poverty. The chapter aims to assess the extent to which policy developed under the Coalition government furthers and balances climate change and fuel poverty goals,...

    • THREE Doctors in the driving seat? Reforms in NHS primary care and commissioning
      (pp. 47-66)
      Elke Heins

      After a protracted parliamentary process, on 27 March 2012, the Health and Social Care Bill of the Coalition government gained Royal Assent to finally become the Health and Social Care Act 2012. This latest National Health Service (NHS) reform taking full effect in April 2013 introduces a radical reorganisation of the way NHS services will be commissioned and establishes a regulated market in which ‘any qualified provider’ from the public or private sector can compete for the provision of NHS services. While the NHS continues to be publicly financed and free at the point of use, the Act entails an...

    • FOUR Financing later life: pensions, care, housing equity and the new politics of old age
      (pp. 67-88)
      Debora Price and Lynne Livsey

      In this chapter we review recent developments in the financing of later life in two key areas: pensions and long-term care. In each policy arena, we observe the dominant hegemony that late life welfare should be provided mainly by the individual from wealth accumulated over the life course, after prudent financial management of income, assets and savings, and by the purchase of financial products and welfare services in competitive or quasi-competitive markets. For this conception of late life welfare to have any policy coherence, citizens must be sufficiently ‘financially capable’ to make what with hindsight, will have been the ‘right’...

  6. Part Two: Contributions from the Social Policy Association/East Asian Social Policy Research Network Conference of 2012

    • [Part Two: Introduction]
      (pp. 89-92)
      Kevin Farnsworth

      This section ofSocial Policy Reviewreproduces several papers from the joint SPA/EASP Conference held in York in July 2012. As usual, there were many great papers to choose from. All the papers that were selected for this section in some way speak to the core concerns of social policy, but also push at the boundaries of the subject. They each make insightful contributions to the welfare debate and, in line with the themes and breadth of the conference itself, represent a diversity of topics and national case studies. In addition to these papers from the York conference, we also...

    • FIVE It’s time to move on from ‘race’? The official ‘invisibilisation’ of minority ethnic disadvantage
      (pp. 93-112)
      Gary Craig and Maggie O’Neill

      This chapter demonstrates how, over the past 10 years in particular, official policy of both central and local government has resulted deliberately, and at times possibly unintentionally, in the growing ‘invisibilisation’ of the dimension of ‘race’. Issues regarding the growing disadvantage of many ethnic minorities are thus becoming obscured in public debate.

      The McPherson Inquiry into the Stephen Lawrence murder¹ marked an apparent watershed in official responses to racism, especially policing responses to racially motivated crimes. Despite legislation (including the Race Relations Amendment Act [RRAA] 2000) and policy guidance, the socially constructed criminalisation of black and minority ethnic (BME) communities...

    • SIX Corporations as political actors: new perspectives for health policy research
      (pp. 113-128)
      Ben Hawkins and Anne Roemer-Mahler

      In the field of health policy, corporations are important actors implicated in the production of ill health through environmental degradation and the promotion of unhealthy lifestyles and consumptions patterns. Equally, they make important contributions to tackling disease and ill health through the development of new medicines and technologies employed in the diagnosis and treatment of a range of conditions. They provide vital support structures to health care systems through the provision of front-line and ancillary services and the administration of health insurance systems. However, the importance of corporations for health policy is a result not simply of their core business...

    • SEVEN Square pegs and round holes: extending existing typologies fails to capture the complexities of Chinese social policy
      (pp. 129-148)
      Dan Horsfall and Sabrina Chai

      The last 30 years have been a time of profound change in China. The shift from a planned to a market economy has gathered pace, and from being considered an economically poor country just three decades ago, China now boasts the second-biggest economy in the world (IMF, 2011). This Chinese miracle of huge and rapid economic growth has brought China along with many other Asian nations into focus, with recent predictions suggesting that within the next 40 years, over half of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will be concentrated within the region (ADB, 2011). With attention focusing on China’s stellar...

    • EIGHT The Earned Income Tax Credit as an anti-poverty programme: palliative or cure?
      (pp. 149-166)
      Phyllis Jeroslow

      The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a federal rebate provision of the US tax code, is heralded as that nation’s largest anti-poverty programme for low-income, working families (Berube, 2006; Holt, 2006). Notwithstanding more than 35 years of EITC implementation, poverty still plagues American families and children. While the EITC has been lauded for increasing labour force participation, particularly for lone mothers, and for lifting working families up to the federal poverty level (Greenstein, 2005; Acs and Toder, 2007), the short-term cash benefits of the EITC do not appear to support long-term economic gains for poor working families (Rainwater and Smeeding,...

    • NINE Social policy and culture: the cases of Japan and South Korea
      (pp. 167-182)
      Nam K. Jo

      This chapter examines cultural explanations of the East Asian welfare state with the cases of Japan and South Korea. Two points are of concern as background to this investigation. First, the recent rising interest and development in cultural analysis of welfare within comparative social policy (eg Pfau-Effinger, 2004, 2005; Van Oorschot, 2007; Van Oorschot et al., 2008; Jo, 2011) suggest that the role of culture in welfare can be better understood with more empirical support when we see culture not as a broad and historical tradition that has shaped everything, but as a context at the same level with economic...

    • TEN Load-shedding and reloading: changes in government responsibility – the case of Israeli immigration and integration policy 2004–10
      (pp. 183-202)
      Ilana Shpaizman

      The period 2004–10 was one of relative stability in Israeli immigration and integration policy. This is because there was no major change in the number of migrants coming to Israel or in their countries of origin, and there was no crisis in this sphere either. However, as this chapter demonstrates, by the end of 2010, one can discern that there has, in fact, been a major shift in immigration and integration policy orientation from a ‘categorical universal’ policy, where all the migrants receive the same assistance regardless of their economic status (Gal, 2008), to a selective policy, where more...

  7. Part Three: Themed section:: work, employment and insecurity

    • [Part Three: Introduction]
      (pp. 203-206)
      Zoë Irving

      In the post-financial-crisis world, one dimension of social policy that has been propelled to centre stage in advanced economies is employment and the lack of it. High unemployment and the rather limited and unsuccessful current attempts to deal with it serve as a reminder thatemploymentpolicy, rather than social security conditionality, was central to 20th-century welfare settlements, whatever their variety. Since the heady days of post-war ‘full employment’, however, much has changed: the global (post-)industrial landscape, the gender division of paid work and, in the rich countries, the decline of collective responsibility for the maintenance of employment invested in...

    • ELEVEN ‘What unemployment means’ three decades and two recessions later
      (pp. 207-226)
      Adrian Sinfield

      In 1979, the Conservative election poster, ‘Labour isn’t working’, showed a long queue of people winding to the ‘unemployment office’. The powerful image is still remembered and copied: ‘austerity isn’t working’ was part of UK Uncut’s campaigning before the 2012 Budget.¹ Little more than three years after the Conservative victory in 1979, unemployment had reached not only 2 million, but 3 million – over 13% by the measure then used.² I wroteWhat unemployment means(Sinfield, 1981) to challenge two dominant views: that we should learn to accept that much lower unemployment was a thing of the past, almost an...

    • TWELVE Precarious employment and EU employment regulation
      (pp. 227-248)
      Julia S. O’Connor

      Precarious employment is generally identified within the broader rubric of non-standard employment, which encompasses several forms of employment, including part-time work, fixed-term contracts, selfemployment and agency work (European Industrial Relations Dictionary, 2011). These forms of non-standard employment are seen as integral to the strategy to increase labour market flexibility and participation in EU policy documents relating to the European Employment Strategy and the Europe 2020 framework, and have increased in several EU countries through explicit policies during the current crisis. This chapter makes a threefold argument. First, non-standard employment is not a homogeneous category in terms of employment characteristics and...

    • THIRTEEN How do activation policies affect social citizenship? The issue of autonomy
      (pp. 249-270)
      Silke Bothfeld and Sigrid Betzelt

      Although paid employment has always remained the main route to social security, social rights represent a necessary precondition for citizens’ social and political participation in Western democracies. By curtailing the detrimental effects of capitalist market processes, the public systems of social protection have – in the golden age of the Western welfare state – become the backbone of various social dynamics. However, since the 1980s, the continuous expansion of the welfare state has decelerated due to increasing economic and fiscal constraints that challenge its functioning.

      Most prominently, the paradigm of ‘social investment’, including the idea of ‘activating’ social policy programmes,...

    • FOURTEEN Modernising social security for lone parents: avoiding fertility and unemployment traps when reforming social policy in Northern Europe
      (pp. 271-292)
      Anders Freundt, Simon Grundt Straubinger and Jon Kvist

      European family structures and labour markets have changed markedly over the last 40 years but social security reforms have lagged behind in responding to these changes in many countries. The share of loneparent households in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries rose from 5.5% in the mid-1980s to 8.1% in the mid-2000s (OECD, 2011, p 215). The extent of lone-parent households is even greater in Northern Europe. In the Netherlands, for example, one in four households with children are a lone-parent household. This amounts to half a million lone-parent households in 2011, up from 361,000 in 1995 (CBS,...

    • FIFTEEN Women, families and the ‘Great Recession’ in the UK
      (pp. 293-314)
      Susan Harkness

      Since the onset of recession in 2008, little attention has been paid to the question of whether men’s and women’s experience of the downturn in the UK jobs market has differed, or to the implications of these gender differences for families. This chapter is an initial attempt to examine these issues for the UK. It assesses how, over the four years since the onset of the ‘Great Recession’ at the end of 2008, and a period of prolonged labour market weakness, male and female employment and unemployment rates, hours of work, wages and family incomes have changed. Analysing this wide...

  8. Index
    (pp. 315-324)
  9. Back Matter
    (pp. 325-325)