Public Services and the Welfare State

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    In-work conditionality is based on weak evidence – but will the policy sink or swim?

In-work conditionality is based on weak evidence – but will the policy sink or swim?

The public seem to be unaware of the poor evidence underpinning in-work conditionality, write Jo Abbas and Katy Jones. But research suggests that this policy is unfair and ineffective, and so once Universal Credit is rolled out, it could face resistance both from claimants and the wider public.

The government’s flagship benefit, Universal Credit (UC), sees the introduction of ‘in-work […]

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    Disciplinary neoliberalism: coercive commodification and the post-crisis welfare state

Disciplinary neoliberalism: coercive commodification and the post-crisis welfare state

Fiona Dukelow and Patricia Kennett examine the post-2008 welfare states in Ireland, Britain, and the US. They explain how each of these countries experienced an acceleration in the operation of disciplinary neoliberalism – through punitive regimes of surveillance and sanctions – and consider the implications of these contemporary welfare policies.

The Great Recession saw the unravelling of a financialised […]

Why benefit sanctions are both ineffective and harmful

Drawing on the first major independent study of benefit sanctions, support, and behaviour change, Sharon Wright, Sarah Johnsen, and Lisa Scullion write that not only do sanctions not help move people into work, they also have a detrimental effect on their lives. This is because sanctions push recipients further into poverty and cause significant distress in the process, with […]

The four pillars of good housing

What makes a Good Home – a stable place where people can flourish and that they can genuinely afford? Natalie Elphicke draws on new Housing & Finance Institute research to outline four key elements that characterise good housing provision and on which government policy should be based.

Housing is the most important aspect of public policy. It doesn’t matter where you […]

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    Where and what is ‘the NHS’? Saving public healthcare depends on changing public perceptions of it

Where and what is ‘the NHS’? Saving public healthcare depends on changing public perceptions of it

Talking about the NHS as if it is a single organisation is both inaccurate and unhelpful, writes Oz Gore, not least because it creates the impression that a cash influx can solve all ‘its’ problems. He argues that in order to keep healthcare services in national hands, we ought to first challenge the popular semantic imagination of the NHS.

We […]

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    How ‘ethical commissioning’ could curb the worst effects of outsourcing

How ‘ethical commissioning’ could curb the worst effects of outsourcing

While inadequate budgets, supervision, and regulation are often blamed for the spectacular failures of public sector outsourcing, the absence of ethical standards in the commissioning and procurement process remains an overlooked issue, writes Bob Hudson. He explains how ethical commissioning would work in practice, if outsourcing is to be made fit for purpose.

The outsourcing of public services to non-statutory […]

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    Had austerity not happened, Leave support could have been up to 10% lower

Had austerity not happened, Leave support could have been up to 10% lower

A series of cuts since the Coalition government curtailed the welfare state, activating this way a range of existing economic grievances. As a result, in districts that received the average austerity shock UKIP vote shares were up, compared to districts with little exposure to austerity. Thiemo Fetzer writes that the tight link between UKIP vote shares and an area’s […]

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    Work and social norms: why we need to challenge the centrality of employment in society

Work and social norms: why we need to challenge the centrality of employment in society

Why do the unemployed often suffer from poor physical health and wellbeing? Daniel Sage argues that it is the importance we attach to the ‘work ethic’ that shapes the experience of unemployment, and so to deal with the harmful effects of unemployment we must challenge the centrality of paid work in our lives.

Unemployed people tend to have significantly worse […]