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Welfare State

Asa Briggs, in a classic essay on the British welfare state, identified three principal elements. These were:

  • a guarantee of minimum standards, including a minimum income;
  • social protection in the event of insecurity; and
  • the provision of services at the best level possible

This has become identified, in practice, with the 'institutional' model of welfare: the key elements are social protection, and the provision of welfare services on the basis of right. In practice, social welfare in the United Kingdom is very different from this ideal. Coverage is extensive, but benefits and services are delivered at a low level. The social protection provided is patchy, and services are tightly rationed. The material in this area covers the evolution of the British welfare state, the balance between state and individual responsibility, personalisation and choice, and the mixed economy of provision.

Adapted from Paul Spicker's Introduction to Social Policy.

This collection is made up of full text reports on welfare state reform, available to view free of charge

Our picks

Public financial guidance: consultation

This consultation will consider how the government should structure the public provision of free-to-client, impartial financial guidance (referred to hereafter as ‘public financial guidance’) to give consumers the information they need, to make financial decisions directly or to seek the right additional advice to help them do so.

Welfare, work and young people: how to improve prospects for 16-24 year olds

This paper examines how people under the age of 25 interact with the welfare system and with the world of work.

Measuring state effectiveness: an ILC-UK index

The golden age of the welfare state is over.

Towards a new age: the future of the UK welfare state

This publication features contributions from more than 20 leading public figures on the reforms necessary to ensure the future of the welfare state.

A future of the welfare state thinkpiece

How a greater focus on 'last time buyers' and meeting the housing needs of older people can help solve the housing crisis.

Public and private welfare activity in England

This paper documents the shifting boundaries of private and public welfare activity for the years 2007/08 and  2013/14.

Female labour supply, human capital and welfare reform

The UK, the US and many other countries have put in place welfare programs subsidizing the wages of low-earning individuals and especially lone mothers, alongside other income support measures.

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