Seven: Welfare to work after the recession: from the New Deals to the Work Programme


This chapter examines the welfare to work policies of the Coalition government, noting both continuities and changes with those of New Labour. It observes that while the principles of activation pursued by New Labour governments have been retained by the Coalition, the latter’s distinctive policies have involved the proposed transformation of all working age benefits into a ‘Universal Credit’ and the introduction of a single ‘Work Programme’, under which the scale and pace of the outsourcing of job placement services to private contractors will be increased. It argues that New Labour’s activation policies achieved relative success, during a period of economic growth, in reducing unemployment and poverty, and that together with economic stimulus and other measures introduced during the recession they were able to mitigate the rise in unemployment when compared to previous recessions.

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