This assignment will be looking at how the policies of new right and new deal have changed from the 1970s till now; it will also be looking at the changes that have occurred from the second war. This assignment will also be looking at the new right and new labour, what Beveridge and Keynes were about.it will also be looking at the consensus from the late 1960s and how social scientist retrieved new evidence that poverty and homelessness still exist, the rediscovery era that problems prior to the welfare state are still here.
It will then look at the resultant rise in state spending and intervention. It will look at the economic crisis- long term benefits were to blame and it was the underserving’s fault. Political crisis will also be mentioned that fewer people are voting and the green party are not concerned with bankruptcy. The crisis also involved social and internal contradictions. It will then mention the conservative government- rolling back the state, privatisation, centralisation, tax cuts for the rich and benefit cuts for the poor. Finally it will look at the new labour-welfare to work, moralising and coalition government changes.
There are many different arguments into how the welfare state started developing and attitudes towards the welfare state are very different, The new right came about in the 1970s the new right was a very strong political force and held a very powerful position in many countries throughout the 1970s and 1980s, they came about when economic difficulties overtook global economy in the years after 1973. They also reacted to the consistent amount of public spending that was occurring throughout the 1960s. There are many reasons in which the new right believe in why the welfare state has involved its self in the welfare and industrial societies. What the new right argues is that two false conclusions had been made from the World War 2 wartime experience. The first false conclusion that had been made was that during the war collective purpose is possible and if that is the case then it is also possible in the peace time, and the second false conclusion was that the government had planned the war and therefore it would be easy for the government to plan the peace. The new right sees that the governments war time successes, and the government shown what it was able to do through the wartime and therefore it should do it. The new right blame two people for the new politics, in whom contributed so much into the continuous development of the welfare state and these two people were known as Keynes and Beveridge. There were three things in particular that the new right blamed Keynes for doing and these three things were that firstly Keynes didn’t like the profit motive at all neither did Keynes like the pursuit of gain, secondly Keynes freed the governments from budgeting legitimate and finally the ways in which Keynes writings were perceived that “ set the economical literature in Britain on a journey that industrial organisations and the employment of high fraction of the labour force on productive and profitable work were considered to be of secondary importance. (Wiener, 1981 cited in V,G and P.W 1994:16).
According to Alcock (2000) there was two simple facts based on evidence for the cause of the economic crisis, the first fact was that the demand for services and bigger and greater service provision, will always take the biggest priority over the resources that were available especially financial within any advanced western society. The second fact was that the changes of demographic patterns in western notions, such as the increase of dependant elderly alongside with the dwindling amount of individuals of working age, the tax base to be reduced wherever it can be financed in any of the welfare states. There were an enormous amount of factors which emerged that argued the political crisis, one of these was that a number of commentators started to question whether or not the welfare state was still needed as it was unable to offer the things it had originally promised to set out to do. Instead it seemed to be causing positive harm, especially on the responsibility of individuals, it was also suggested by the political crisis that the political institutions were being questioned due to their legitimacy ruling of society because they were in the process of decline. This crisis continued to manifest and this was causing less support for the electoral for the biggest political parties. It had also been said that the political crisis had reflected so much on the bureaucratic control over the welfare state, this meant that the bureaucratises would become bigger not taking into consideration of the efficient., so here is where it suggest that social policies have failed to sort out these social issues when these issues were something they set out to deal with in the first place, it could be said they have in fact made the social issues a lot worse or probably started off a whole lot of new ones. With the rise of divorce, illegitimacy and single parenthood it is clearly shown to be evidence for one of the causes for the social crisis of the welfare state,.one of the main issues and probably the most damaging to address was that of internal contradiction as the welfare state was unable to address this very issue. This assignment will now move onto the “Big Five” and these five issues came about by the Beveridge Report.
Beveridge did a report that identified what he called as the “Big Five” and it was apparently the “Big Five” that was stopping Britain from becoming a modern society. The “Big Five” were known as these five things want ignorance, disease, squalor and idleness. Want referred to people that were in need of financial support to keep them from becoming ill and keep them just above the poverty line.
Second was ignorance and this was mainly aimed at poor education. Thirdly was disease and this was to do with the lack of national health care, it needed to be paid for as in these days it wasn’t free. The forth was squalor and this was due to poor housing and slums, and finally idleness was due to the depression of unemployed individuals if all of the “big five “could be tackled then Britain would move forward. (Alcock 2000).
The conservatives won election in 1979 , Margaret thatcher- rolling back of the state, gradual built up of the state its involving itself more and more, government gets too involved, pulling out “laissez fraire”. Rolling back the frontiers of the state (people losing homes) state referred to new right, people become lazy and need pushing back into employment. 1979 conservative victory- more people became unemployed, cuts money in other places, homes/towns/transport etc… people become on strike. Thatcher was elected for government in 1979; her intensions were to “roll back the state” her government was all about making “cuts” and reducing the public spending to its minimum to allow tax cuts and especially to bring down the rates of income tax. In the first few years of thatcher’s government more and more people became unemployed. The labour government were elected in May 1997, it was made clear that reform was needed, labour were determined not to increase the income on tax rates, labour needed to make a turning point within the welfare state after taking over from the thatcher government and four of the main themes that seemed to stand out the most towards the welfare state were an attempt to control public spending, privatisation, targeting and the rising in equality. This new government tried to turn new corners with these four issues. The public spending was to be held for 2 years and the income tax was not to be increased. More money was being spent on the new deal instead to bring down the unemployment levels, and this was initially aimed towards the younger unemployed. 1997-1998 budgets had become higher, meaning that more money was spent on health and education that was planned originally. In October 1998 free funding for university education came into place, but was placed on a means-tested basis for those students who were from poor families, students could access different loans, a grant to help with living cost, and a system was set up that allowed the loans to be paid back by a percentage of the students future income (Deacon 2002). Some changes that have occurred from 1970s and onwards ,lone parent families had risen from twelve percent to twenty- three percent between the years of 1979-1995, 80% of these lone parents were dependent on the lowest income benefit from the state and this was known as income support. Public spending had been reduced due to the fact of national income nearly reaching 50 percent in the years 1975-1976. By 1991 18.5 percent of the population were made up from the elderly, (65 years of age for men) and (60 years of age for the women) this had risen by 1971. This wasn’t the only problem that had occurred there was great concern for the state pensions but also the health service including personal social services and nursing homes for pensioners over the age of 85 as this population was increasing fast. (Deacon 2002).
Hayek and Friedman – Argue that the state should be reduced to its minimum as we have become slaves to the state, the welfare state is breaking down communities, people are depending too much on the state for money, state involvement undermines the dynamic force within society by interfering with the market, reducing freedom. The welfare state has taken away community networks and left people reliant on the state. Great rise in unemployment, prices drop and this isn’t good for the economy. Rise in low paid work, casual work and women will work for less. Welfare dependency- poor are being blamed- they all have the dole and that’s the reason the economy has gone into decline (Alcock 2000).
Here are some of the things that the labour government have achieved since the ending of the World War 2. The labour government got victory and won the election over the conservatives, under the leadership of Clement Attlee, whom promised to tackle Beveridges “Big Giants”. What labour did for Want was in 1946 the national insurance act came about and benefits were given to the unemployed, pregnant women, pensions for the retired and allowances for the sick, widowed and mothers. 1946 the industrial injuries act, this provided compensation to workers that had been injured. 1948 national assistance act this helped the poorest people within society, poor law, the workhouse and the unemployment assistant boards were scrapped. The things labour did for Ignorance 1994 education act was put forward by the conservatives this was to enable free education for primary and secondary schools for all children, the school leaving age is 15 years of age but later was moved to 16 there wasn’t enough money for this to happen at this time so this wasn’t agreed until 1947 when labour passed this act into law. Ignorance And Idleness employment and training act 1948 this established a new workforce, gave funding for school leavers and de mobbed servicemen to train as they had no training for a job after returning from the army. Aimed at regenerating areas of previously high unemployment industrial areas, Squalor 1946/1949 housing acts gave financial help to local authorities to rebuild cities that had been damaged during the war. Between 1945/1949 1.25 million permanent new homes were built. And this doesn’t include the temporarily houses. 1946/1949 rent control act tenants interest were put above there landlords. 1946 new towns act, 14 new towns were to be built. Disease 1948 National Health Service act this was probably one of the biggest to be tackled by labour government. Free accessible health care system to benefit all individuals this began in July 1948. By 1949 8.5 million people had received free dental care, 5.75 million pair of glasses had been issued and 187 million prescriptions had been dispensed. All of these proved to be very expensive, the initial annual budget was to be 187 million but the actual cost per year was 355 million. In 1951 charges were brought in for some services such as dental, eye care and prescriptions. (Chandler 2002).
The Crisis is economic, political, social and internal contradictions. The welfare state went into crisis for these four reasons politically the welfare state wasn’t affordable.
In conclusion to this assignment it would be fair to say that quite a lot of things have happened with the welfare state over the years, there are a mix of judgements of what the welfare should be doing or rather what it shouldn’t be, for example the new right believe that the welfare state is economically damaging. The issues that have been explored within this assignment are more or less to do with means and ends. It would be fair to say that a majority of individuals or if not all would prefer to live in a society with equality, opportunities, more choice and freedom. The state should be used for common purposes such as protection, health care and education, a large amount of people depend on the welfare state too much and maybe it needs to take a step back.
http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/5553/1/Thatcherism_New_Labour_and_the_Welfare_State.pdf accessed 06/05/2011
Alcock C (et al) (2000) Introducing Social Policy,Prentice Hall
Beveridge, W.H. (1942) Social Insurance and Allied Services, Cmd 6404, HMSO:London.
Chandler, M (2002) Britain In The Age Of Total War 1939-45, Heinemann Educational
George V, Wilding P (1994) Welfare And Ideology Pearson Education Limited.
Deacon P (2002) Perspectives on welfare Buckingham: Open University Press
Midwinter E (1994) The Development of Social Welfare in Britain. Buckingham: Open University Press