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Social Policy Review 24

Social Policy Review 24: Analysis and debate in social policy, 2012

Majella Kilkey
Gaby Ramia
Kevin Farnsworth
Copyright Date: 2012
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  • Book Info
    Social Policy Review 24
    Book Description:

    This edition of Social Policy Review marks the 40th anniversary of a publication from the UK Social Policy Association devoted to presenting an up-to-date and diverse review of the best in social policy scholarship. It includes a special Anniversary Preface celebrating the publication's evolution and distinctive contributions. Continuing its reputation as a cutting edge, international publication in social policy, Part One of this edition analyses current developments under the UK's Coalition Government across a range of key policy areas. Part Two includes an examination of social policy in 'developing' countries, including in Africa and the Arab nations. Part Three considers the fate of social welfare in countries among the worst hit by the 'economic crisis', including: Ireland, Greece, Spain, Portugal and Iceland. Social Policy Review is essential reading for social policy academics and students and for anyone who is interested in the implications of government policy.

    eISBN: 978-1-4473-0448-7
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. List of tables and figures
    (pp. v-vi)
  4. Notes on contributors
    (pp. vii-x)
  5. 40th anniversary preface
    (pp. xi-xviii)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 1-12)
    Majella Kilkey

    The ‘long view’ offered in the contributions to the ‘40th anniversary preface’ offers scant consolation to a social policy analyst today in the UK, and one suspects in much of Europe and beyond. Jonathan Bradshaw notes the alarm 40 years ago from the then Tory government when unemployment reached one million. At the end of 2011, one million was the level ofyouthunemployment in the UK! Total unemployment stood at 2.64 million. And this is before the bulk of the public expenditure cuts committed to by the 2010 Conservative–Liberal Democrat Coalition government take effect; cuts that Clare Ungerson,...

  7. Part One: Current developments

    • ONE Universal Credit: overview and gender implications
      (pp. 15-34)
      Fran Bennett

      A simpler benefits (or tax/benefits) system has always been the ‘holy grail’ of social security reform in the UK.² New social security ministers tend to come into office unable to fathom why their predecessors have been unable to achieve this – and leave office older and wiser. But after the introduction of the new tax credits in 2003 by the Labour government, critiques of the existing system as complex and confusing for claimants increased (eg Community Links et al, 2007; Bennett et al, 2009); and think tanks, and the government itself, developed variations on the idea of a ‘single working-age benefit’...

    • TWO Family support and the Coalition: retrenchment, refocusing and restructuring
      (pp. 35-54)
      Harriet Churchill

      The scope and make-up of welfare state support for families with children are controversial social policy issues in the British context. However, under the former Labour government, concerns about childhood disadvantage and family functioning moved up the policy agenda. In turn, Labour invested in more universal and targeted family support provision and extended state intervention in childhood and child-rearing. Economic austerity measures, though, and the establishment of the Conservative–Liberal Democrat Coalition government in May 2010 constitute new policy contexts. After 18 months of Coalition government, this chapter examines the implications for, and recent developments in, family support and child...

    • THREE Housing, the welfare state and the Coalition government
      (pp. 55-76)
      Alan Murie

      Housing policy in Britain has had a precarious relationship with social policy and the welfare state. At times, governments have appeared to believe that housing the population can be left to the market; and, at times, housing has been part of economic rather than social policy. But throughout, housing has had an unavoidable relationship with the modern welfare state. Housing directly relates to two of Beveridge’s five giant evils – Want and Squalor – and indirectly impacts on the remaining three, because action to address Idleness, Disease and Ignorance is more successful where there is effective housing provision. Housing costs also form...

    • FOUR The 2012/13 reforms of higher education in England: changing student finances and funding
      (pp. 77-96)
      Claire Callender

      The expansion and growing importance of higher education (HE) in England since the 1980s have prompted numerous reforms aimed at reshaping and restructuring HE and its funding, reflecting the changing ideological, economic and social functions of HE. The proposed reforms to be introduced in 2012/13 in England are by far the most radical and those concerning HE funding and student finances the most far-reaching. This chapter aims to unpack the drivers for these reforms, locating them in a broader historical and policy context. It describes the proposed 2012/13 HE changes and analyses their potential impact against their stated aims.


    • FIVE Division and opposition: the Health and Social Care Bill 2011
      (pp. 97-114)
      Sally Ruane

      In mid-July 2010, a few weeks after the creation of the Coalition government, Andrew Lansley, Secretary of State for Health, issued a heavily leaked White Paper calledEquity and excellence: liberating theNHS (DH, 2010). Despite the fact that its package of proposals had featured in neither the Conservative Party nor Liberal Democrat general election manifestos, the White Paper contained a radical programme of reform for the National Health Service (NHS), contradicting the Conservative Party’s repeated reassurances before the general election that there would be no imposed top-down reorganisation of the NHS as well as an explicit statement to that...

  8. Part Two: Social policy in the developed and developing worlds

    • SIX Immigrant-targeted activation policies: a comparison of the approaches in the Scandinavian welfare states
      (pp. 117-136)
      Karen Nielsen Breidahl

      Is there a fundamental contradiction between inclusive welfare policies and immigration? And can universal welfare states accommodate the increasing diversity characterising contemporary societies (Freeman, 1986; Alesine and Glaeser, 2004; Banting and Kymlicka, 2006)? These questions are much disputed in academic and public debate. Some argue that ethnic diversity poses no problem for liberal welfare states, but that it represents a dramatic challenge to social democratic welfare state types, as the latter have historically been rooted in uniform, homogeneous and collective class identities (Necef, 2001). However, a number of studies have been conducted to elucidate this presumed negative relationship, and the...

    • SEVEN Welfare retrenchment under Left and Right government leadership: towards a consolidated framework of analysis?
      (pp. 137-164)
      Stefan Kühner

      Over the course of the last two decades, comparative welfare research has dealt with two puzzles. Initially, it was commonplace that Western European welfare states remained remarkably ‘resilient’ despite major fiscal and socio-economic pressures, globalisation, and frontal assaults by austerity governments (see, eg, Castles, 2004). To explain this first puzzle, the ‘new politics’ of the welfare state became synonymous with the politics of ‘blame avoidance’ (Green-Pedersen and Haverland, 2002; Starke, 2006): the persistent popularity of welfare programmes was said to trigger coalitions of welfare defenders, making downward adjustments of post-war welfare settlements, that is, welfare retrenchment, electorally highly risky for...

    • EIGHT From black hole to spring: the coming of age of social policy in the Arab countries?
      (pp. 165-182)
      Rana Jawad

      This chapter gives a broad overview discussion of social policy in the Arab region with the aim of arguing for its viability as a subject of academic study and its legitimacy as an arm of state policy and public intervention. The key units of analysis in the subject of social policy, such as social welfare, citizenship, equality, justice, poverty and rights, have never been more relevant than now, as mass political mobilisation grips Arab countries which have earned that region the bad reputation of being socially and politically backward (Jawad, 2009) – a situation captured figuratively by the image of a...

    • NINE China’s developmental model in Africa: a new era for global social policy?
      (pp. 183-202)
      Marian Urbina Ferretjans and Rebecca Surender

      Chinese engagement in the continent of Africa has grown exponentially in the last decade. Although, historically, China’s trade and economic activities in the region have attracted most attention (Mohan and Power, 2008), it is increasingly recognised that Sino-African cooperation now also embraces development aid and social welfare assistance. However, there is awareness that Chinese assistance in Africa appears to be mediated under a different set of normative premises, institutional actors and policy mechanisms from traditional bilateral and intergovernmental institutions (Chin and Frolic, 2007; Alden et al, 2008; Brautigam, 2008; Davies et al, 2008; Brautigam, 2009) and interest in whether a...

  9. Part Three: Severe crisis:: social policy in most challenging circumstances

    • TEN The Greek welfare state in the age of austerity: anti-social policy and the politico-economic crisis
      (pp. 205-230)
      Theodoros Papadopoulos and Antonios Roumpakis

      Greece was the first of the countries in the EU periphery engulfed in the so-called sovereign debt crisis that followed the crisis in the financial and banking sectors. The sovereign debt crisis exposed the serious weaknesses of the politico-economic regime that shaped Greece’s development after the end of the military dictatorship in 1974. It also revealed the unprecedented power of unaccountable international financial institutions, banks and agencies to shape the dynamics of government bond markets across the globe and, therefore, the trajectories of national and regional political economies. More fundamentally, the Greek crisis exposed the limits of EU solidarity, and...

    • ELEVEN From opportunity to austerity: crisis and social policy in Spain
      (pp. 231-256)
      Javier Ramos-Díaz and Albert Varela

      Despite experiencing more than a decade of rapid growth and achieving a relatively healthy fiscal position, Spain has been hit hard by the financial crisis and is struggling to recover. The collapse of the housing bubble, which largely drove the so-called Spanish Miracle through high levels of corporate and household debt, led to a sharp increase in unemployment rates and put a share of the banking sector under significant strain.

      The crisis was seen as an opportunity to implement a change of productive model towards a more productive knowledge-based economy with which to fund the future of the Spanish welfare...

    • TWELVE From financial crisis to welfare retrenchment: assessing the challenges to the Irish welfare state
      (pp. 257-276)
      Mairéad Considine and Fiona Dukelow

      In 2008, the prolonged economic boom in Ireland came to an end. The global financial crisis collided with a precarious economic growth model and, since then, Ireland has been in almost constant crisis mode. A dramatic drop in economic growth and the insolvency of the banking system precipitated recession and a prolonged programme of austerity, which continues under the European Union (EU)/International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan agreement agreed in late 2010. Crisis has become the new normal, and because the strategy for recovery is seen to be so dependent on external forces and conditions, the situation remains uncertain. This chapter...

    • THIRTEEN The Great Recession and US social policy: from expansion to austerity
      (pp. 277-296)
      Daniel Béland and Alex Waddan

      What has become known as the ‘Great Recession’ began in the US when the crisis that hit investment banking and other key financial institutions through 2008 developed into a wider economic crisis leading to a massive increase in unemployment. For policymakers, this posed a choice of whether to expand social policy programmes in order to protect people suffering in the economic downturn or to turn to radical welfare state retrenchment to remedy the accelerating problems of deficit and debt (Vis et al, 2011). In the US, the historical evidence as to the likely impact of economic crisis on social policy...

    • FOURTEEN Seeking refuge in the Nordic model: social policy in Iceland after 2008
      (pp. 297-318)
      Zoë Irving

      As a small island state, Iceland has not figured prominently in comparative analysis or welfare state modelling and has only recently gained popular notoriety as a result of its economic and environmental volatility. Notwithstanding the parallels between the global effects of volcanic ash clouds and the ballooning detritus of international finance, this chapter focuses on the Icelandic experience of 21st-century financial crisis, and what this might reveal about the development of social policy. Iceland’s position as the earliest country to face post-2008 economic collapse is significant in terms of lessons to be drawn regarding financial regulation and the political process....

  10. Index
    (pp. 319-326)
  11. Back Matter
    (pp. 327-327)