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Is the UK Welfare State under attack?

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Julia Mayer

on 11 March 2014

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Transcript of Is the UK Welfare State under attack?

Employment Market
Sociocultural Trend
- the trend to individual life forms
- the welfare state has to compensate the missing family -
more individual benefits needed
- distribution conflict
- Population is getting older
- Lower population of younger people
- The fertility rate is really low
- The average age is going higher

--> 'Intergenerational contract' does not work anymore, the relationship between people who pay
taxes and contributions to pensioners is not equal anymore – conflict zones between young and old people, families and no families

less employers have to
support more pensioners
- William Beveridge - Liberal Politician

- Set the task to find what people wanted from Britain after the war

- Discovered many people were deprived and poor

- Beverage adapted Keynesian ideas

- He identified the Five Giants (Evils) that needed to be tackled on the road to reconstruction

Want – The need for an adequate income for all

Ignorance – The need for access to educational opportunity

Disease – The need for access to health care

Squalor – The need for an adequate housing

Idleness – The need for gainful employment

(Qlearning, 2012)

Education Act (1944)

National Health Service
(NHS) Act(1948)

Allowance Act (1945)

National Assistance
Act (1948)
National Insurance
Industrial Injuries Act (1946)
National Insurance
Act (1945)
Town and Country Planning Act (1947)
New Towns Act (1946)
Childrens Act (1948)
Marshall Aid (1948)

What is Welfare?
Welfare is known to be a “system
whereby the state undertakes to protect the health and well-being of its citizens, especially those in financial or social need, by means of grants, pensions, and other benefits.”


Individuals are not happy
about the existence
of welfare programs.

Providing welfare is very costly for
the government who control the
distribution of it.

Welfare can encourage UK residents
not to seek work due to a rise in
income disqualifying them from
receiving benefits.

Welfare is also an opportunity for

The UK welfare state
provide a safety net to
those who are in need of
receiving much-needed
food, medical care.

Welfare prevents even further
social problems by
allowing some recipients
to maintain their
standard of living.


Funding for programs that teach new skills or seek jobs for those who are unemployed.
There could be a time limit on welfare, such as time limits for receiving unemployment benefits or a
maximum monthly food stamp allowance.
Neoliberalism encourages welfare due to
it removing unnecessary constraints.

Universal Credit will eventually replace, Jobseeker's Allowance, income support, child tax credit, housing benefit, income related employment and support allowance.
- Simplifying the benefits system by bringing together a range of working-age benefits into a single payment.
Alternatives to providing welfare
Influences on the
welfare state

Current reforms
- spending far over budget

- a surplus would be ideal

- on top of the budget, there is a need to investing in projects like infrastructure
The budget for 2015-2016 year is £745 billion but George Osborne has said that further cuts of £11.5 are needed.

Public spending cuts badly effect the poor

George Osborne "benefit cuts benefit everyone except lazy people"

Benefits crisis has led to "destitution, hardship and hunger on a large scale"

There are 2.5 million unemployed in the UK and only 500,000 jobs
"These changes are essential to keep the benefits bill sustainable, so that we can continue to support people when they need it most across the UK."
A Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson said: "Our welfare reforms, including reassessing people on incapacity benefit, will help people back into work - which will benefit the economy more than simply abandoning them to claim benefits year after year
It came after veteran Labour MP Michael Meacher warned that the brutal cuts had brought "absolute poverty" back to Britain for the first time since the Victorian age.
The Archbishop of Canterbury yesterday backed the 27 bishops who wrote to the Daily Mirror blasting welfare cuts which have caused a hunger crisis.
George Osborne is arguing that by
cutting benefits he is on the side of the
hard working individuals and benefits
“everyone except lazy people”.
Weekly grocery bills soared by £5.66 to £76.83 in 2012 and
childcare costs by £5.04 to £90.97.
Times are so tight that more families are going to food banks

The left-wing former minister accused Chancellor George Osborne of causing the "cruel and unnecessary imposition of poverty".
- the welfare state is under attack

--> could absolute poverty return?

- universal credit

- no official figures


Anderson, R. (2014) UK debt and deficit: All you need to know. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-25944653 [accessed 8th March 2014]

Anyaegbu, G. (2011) The effects of taxes and benefits on income inequality (online), available at: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/search/index.html?newquery=gini+coefficient (Accessed 11th March 2014)

BBC News (2014) Spending Review: An at-a-glance summary of the key points. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-23060592 [accessed 9th March 2014]

BBC, (2014), History – The Five Giants, Available at:http://www.bbc.co.uk/.../history/labour/five/revision/2/ [accessed 3rd March 2014]

Beattie, J. (2014) Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby backs 27 bishops who blasted David Cameron’s welfare cuts (online) available at: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/archbishop-canterbury-justin-welby-backs-3168167#ixzz2vYPfeYLQ (Accessed: 11th March 2014)

Chantrill, C (2014) UK Public Spending – Public spending details [online] Available at: http://www.ukpublicspending.co.uk/uk_budget_pie_chart [accessed 1st March]

eHow (2014) Welfare State in the United Kingdom [online] Available at: ehow.co.uk [accessed 1st March]

Eurostat (2010) Schlüsseldaten über Europa (online) available at: http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/cache/ITY_OFFPUB/KS-EI-11-001/DE/KS-EI-11-001-DE.PDF (Accessed: 4th March 2014)
Financial Times (2013) Austerity Audit. Available at http://ig.ft.com/austerity-audit/ [accessed 9th March]

Gov (2014) Fraud and error in the benefit system [online] Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/fraud-and-error-in-the-benefit-system [accessed 1st March]

Harries, R. (2013) Austerity government means a new approach to public services. http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/oct/02/austerity-government-approach-public-services-cuts [accessed 9th March 2014]

HM Treasury (2014) Statistical bulletin: public spending statistics February 2014. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/
attachment_data/file/285632/PSS_February_2014.pdf [accessed 8th March 2014]

Mc Tague, T. (2013) Welfare cuts will widen inequality and suck £19bn a year out of economy, report reveals (online) available at: Welfare cuts will widen inequality and suck £19bn a year out of economy, report reveals http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/welfare-cuts-widen-inequality-suck-1823661#ixzz2vee40dhX ( Accessed: 11th March 2014)

Schmid, J. (2012) Probleme und Zukunftsperspektiven des Sozialstaates (online) available at: http://www.bpb.de/politik/grundfragen/deutsche-verhaeltnisse-eine-sozialkunde/138845/probleme-und-zukunftsperspektiven-des-sozialstaates (Accessed: 4th March 2014)

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Topping, A. (2013) Food banks now a lifeline for half a million people in Britain. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/may/30/food-banks-oxfam-parliamentary-inquiry [accessed 10th March 2014]

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faster communication via electronic media
cheap and fast transport
opening up foreign markets

increasing global trade
high mobility of capital,
not high mobility of workers
less educated people become poorer -
'race to the bottom'
transnational migration,
welfare state can be abused by
cost pressure
higher life expectancy
less contributions to the
healthcare system

reduce social friction between poor and rich people

high debt
Linkage between welfare politics and economy?
welfare state expends rescources from the economy system (taxes and contributions)
to education, health care etc. –
provides a well-educated population
cutting public spending
Two types of benefits in the UK
Contributory benefits
=Paid by national insurance fund
- Individuals make contributions while working
(state retirement pension, widows benefit, statutory
maternity allowance)
Non-Contributory benefits
= Means tested
- Support & pension credit,
attendance allowance, disability
living allowance, housing benefit
Full transcript