The study of social policy in Britain has traditionally focused on the development and structure of welfare services. In the case of the social administration approach this meant a fairly narrow concern with the operation and effectiveness of current social policy initiatives. More recently, social policy has been more broadly conceived and has paid attention to the wider issues of the ideologies and theories that have shaped the welfare policies and the political context in which these have developed. However, welfare policies are not just the product of a particular political or ideological context, they are also affected by the economic forces that govern the development of the society within which they are located. Indeed, because they determine the resources that are available to meet all individual and social needs, it is arguable that economic forces are the most important factor influencing both the size and scope of all social policy.
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