Search Results

You are looking at 1 - 10 of 48 items for

  • Author or Editor: John Hills x
Clear All Modify Search
Author:

Richard Titmuss was Professor of Social Administration at the London School of Economics (LSE) from 1950 until his death in 1973. His publications on welfare and social policy were radical and wide-ranging, spanning fields such as demography, class inequalities in health, social work, and altruism. Titmuss’s work played a critical role in establishing the study of social policy as a scientific discipline; it helped to shape the development of the British Welfare State and influenced thinking about social policy worldwide. Despite its continuing relevance to current social policy issues both in the UK and internationally, much of Titmuss’s work is now out of print.

Restricted access
Author:

This chapter is less optimistic about the future for income inequality. It discusses four key factors that may make progress towards greater income equality increasingly challenging: the intergenerational transmission of advantage; wealth and inheritance; demographic change; and environmental sustainability. The chapter specifically includes pressures on public finances and the need to reduce carbon emissions in the face of climate change.

Restricted access
Author:

This chapter looks at the evidence on what the public wants from pensions, and at how people react when confronted with the potential ways of achieving it. The first section discusses why it became apparent that wide-ranging pension reform was necessary. The next section describes recommendations made by the Pensions Commission (of which the author was a member) in 2005, the government’s reaction to them, and the reforms that are now being put into legislation. Subsequent sections discuss public attitudes to pensions in general, public views of the trade-off between the fundamental choices in tackling the pensions problem, and then specific views of how entitlement to state pensions should be ‘earned’. For social policy to ‘work’ and reforms to stick, social policy ultimately requires sustained public support. The conclusion discusses the long-term prospects for survival of the reforms in the light of these findings.

Restricted access
Author:

In his famous 1942 Report, Social insurance and allied services, Sir William Beveridge set out his plans for social security after the end of the War:

The plan for Social Security … starts from a diagnosis of want – of the circumstances in which, in the years just preceding the present war, families and individuals in Britain might lack the means of healthy subsistence. (Beveridge, 1942, para 11)

The evidence he used was drawn from a number of pre-war surveys in particular towns, especially the work of Seebohm Rowntree in his surveys of York in both 1936 and one hundred years ago in 1899.

The key conclusion Beveridge drew from these surveys was that the principal causes of ‘Want’ could be divided between ‘interruption or loss of earning power’ – accounting for three quarters to five sixths of the total – and the effects of large family size – accounting for ‘practically the whole’ of the rest (Beveridge, 1942).

In Rowntree’s 1899 survey more than half of the ‘primary poverty’1 was due to low wages. Only 18% was due to unemployment or death of the main wage earner. By contrast, in 1936, unemployment, old age and other causes which could be met by social insurance accounted for five sixths of the total, and large families for another 8%. Low wages only accounted for a tenth of the total (figures from Evans and Glennerster, 1993, Figure 1).

These observations led directly to Beveridge’s recommendations: a comprehensive system of unemployment benefits, old age pensions, widows’ benefits, and disability benefits, all based on insurance rights earned during the good parts of people’s working lives.

Restricted access
Author:

In economic management and in politics, there is little escape from the discussion of tax. Tax revenue has represented between one third and two fifths of total national income over the last 20 years, so its scale and design has major effects on the economy. Decisions on how much tax should be levied on different kinds of activity or individuals is one of the central decisions of British politics – hardly surprising with £10,000 to be raised every second. But much of this discussion treats tax as if it was simply a loss to those who pay it and to the economy as a whole, rather than as a vital mechanism to ensure that collective aims can be met and for ends which the market would fail to achieve. As Henry Neuburger put it in a paper for the Fabian Society Taxation Review,

... we have to promote the idea of tax as a contribution to the maintenance of the welfare state and not as a deadweight burden.... A modern democratic state requires adequate levels of taxation. The most consistent poll finding we have about tax is that a large majority of people agree with this analysis.... They believe in the productive enabling state and the means to finance it. (1989, pp 1 and 5)

The tax system is not there only – or indeed, mainly – as a redistributive mechanism. Its role is also to finance the provision of goods and services from which everyone benefits. To understand its function and effects, we have to look at spending at the same time.

Restricted access
New Labour, poverty, inequality and exclusion
Editors: and

This major new book provides, for the first time, a detailed evaluation of policies on poverty and social exclusion since 1997, and their effects. Bringing together leading experts in the field, it considers the challenges the government has faced, the policies chosen and the targets set in order to assess results. Drawing on research from the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, and on external evaluations, the book asks how children, older people, poor neighbourhoods, ethnic minorities and other vulnerable groups have fared under New Labour and seeks to assess the government both on its own terms - in meeting its own targets - and according to alternative views of social exclusion.

Restricted access
Restricted access
Authors: and

The Labour government that took office in 1997 inherited levels of poverty and inequality unprecedented in post-war history. More than one in four UK children lived in relative poverty, compared to one in eight when Labour had left office in 1979 (DWP, 2004a). Poverty among pensioners stood at 21%1. Income inequality had widened sharply: in 1979 the post-tax income of the top tenth of the income distribution was about five times that of the bottom tenth; by the mid-1990s that ratio had doubled (Hills, 2004a, Table 2.5).

In opposition, the new government had been careful to avoid major commitments to addressing social and economic disadvantage. In practice, it has implemented a broad and ambitious social policy programme, taking on a wide range of social ills, including child poverty, worklessness, area and neighbourhood deprivation and inequalities in health and educational attainment. How much has this programme achieved? Shortly after the election, one of New Labour’s prominent strategists had challenged “the doubters” to “judge us after ten years of success in office. For one of the fruits of that success will be that Britain has become a more equal society” (Mandelson, 1997, p 7). There is some time to go before that particular deadline, but as Labour nears the end of its second term in office, this seems a good moment to take stock. This volume aims to assess the impact of government policies since 1997 on poverty, inequality and social exclusion. Is Britain indeed becoming a more equal society than it was when Labour was elected?

Restricted access