Competing Approaches

New Right, New Labour, Social democrat, and Marxists

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Competing Approaches to Poverty and
the Welfare State
New Right: Conservative, 1979
- Income support to replace Supplementary benefit. The result was that the level of benefit was
reduced for many, and cut completely for some.
- The social fund, partly to help those in hardship not covered by income support, and also
payments became loans rather than grants
- Child support agency aimed to reduce cost of benefits by making `absent parents' pay for their
- Encouraged more welfare to be provided by private companies
- Most benefits became targeted and means tested (only eligible if income falls below a certain
- Aimed to reduce welfare expenditure
- Reduced state pensions for people retiring early
Dependency culture
-During this time, New right sociologists argued that welfare provision was creating a
dependency culture
- They argued that all benefits should be means tested and targeted to that only the most needy
receive help
- They support the `rolling back' of welfare, as they believed that the UK was a nanny state
- Only some people are eligible, the benefits costs less, meaning lower taxes
- Ensure that only those who really need the benefits will get them
- Extra administration costs involved
- Those just above the cut-off line could end up financially worse off
- Low take-up due to shame, stigma or embarrassment
- Cutting back certain universal benefits and services led to public outcry
- Poverty actually increased during the 80s and 90s
- Despite cuts, welfare expenditure was still quite high
- Marxists believe that poverty is `built into' capitalism, and that it is only through radical changes
in society that poverty can ever be eliminated
- Argues that capitalism survives on exploiting the majority of the working population
- Owners of commercial institutions can only make a profit as long as they can pay the lowest

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The unemployed will always be there to take the employed people's jobs if their wage
demands are too great
- Welfare state is merely to help maintain capitalism
- Marxists would prefer a radical change in society
- If the government did try to take the wealth from the richest members of society, the rich
would simply move it elsewhere, which would result in fewer jobs and greater poverty
- Where governments did take over the commercial institutions as in Eastern Europe, the result…read more

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- The third way approach to welfare
- Influenced by sociologist Giddens
- Mixture of means testing and universalism
- Emphasis on rights and responsibilities
- Emphasis on paid employment for all
-Welfare not just provided by the state, but also by private, voluntary and informal providers
Benefits introduced
- University top-up fees
- Tax credits
- Income support
- National Minimum Wage
- Winter fuel payments
- Child benefits
- Council tax
- Expensive
- Combined other…read more


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