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‘Employment First’: Activating the British Welfare State

Chapter

Over the past decade there has been radical change in the British welfare state. The Government has introduced a new welfare contract where the ‘rights and responsibilities’ of working age adults receiving state benefits have been redefined to encourage, and increasingly require, their active participation in paid employment. This has involved a parallel ‘activation’ of entitlements and obligations and of the services delivered by welfare state institutions.

This chapter considers the new combinations of job search assistance, obligations and programmes; and ‘make work pay’ reforms, introduced in Great Britain (GB) since 1997. It assesses evidence on the impacts of the strategy and the challenges faced as activation requirements are extended to workless lone parents and people with health problems and disabilities.

The British case merits attention for several reasons. Firstly, New Labour has sought explicitly to synthesise ‘what works’ from both neo-liberal and social democratic welfare traditions with some analysts discerning the emergence of an “Anglo-social welfare model, incorporating and reconciling economic performance and flexibility with equality and social justice” (Dixon and Pearce 2005).

Keywords

Great Britain Lone Parent National Minimum Wage Incapacity Benefit British Welfare 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

List of abbreviations

BA

Benefits Agency

CMP

Condition Management Programme

CTB

Council Tax Benefit

CTC

Child Tax Credit

DSS

Department of Social Security

DWP

Department of Work and Pensions

ECHR

European Convention of Human Rights

EMTR

Effective Marginal Tax Rate

ESA

Employment Support Allowance

ES

Employment Service

EZ

Employment Zone

GB

Great Britain

GDP

Gross Domestic Product

Hansard

Official Record of Parliamentary Proceedings, Written Answer from Minister

HB

Housing Benefit

HMT

Her Majesty’s Treasury

HRA

Human Rights Act

IAP

Intensive Activity Period

IB

Incapacity Benefit

IFS

Institute for Fiscal Studies

IS

Income Support

JCP

Jobcentre Plus

JSA

Jobseekers Allowance

JSAg

Jobseekers Agreement

LFS

Labour Force Survey

MSC

Manpower Services Commission

NAO

National Audit Office

NDDP

New Deal for Disabled People

NDLP

New Deal for Lone Parents

NDPA

New Deal Personal Adviser

NDYP

New Deal for Young People

ND25 plus NEP

National Employment Panel

NI

National Insurance

NMW

National Minimum Wage

OECD

Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development

ONS

Office for National Statistics

PA

Personal Adviser

SSAC

Social Security Advisory Committee

UK

United Kingdom

WBLA

Work Based Learning for Adults

WFI

Work Focused Interview

WFTC

Working Families Tax Credit

WTC

Working Tax Credit

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The University of PortsmouthUK
  2. 2.The Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Social Law in MunichGermany

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