Sociology - Wealth, Poverty and Work - Essay on Welfare Pluralism.

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Examine the contribution of different types of welfare provider to meeting people's welfare needs (20).

There are many types of welfare including private, public, and voluntary welfare. They provide for people's needs in different ways.

State welfare includes services, and benefits which are provided by the state and these are generally funded by some form of indirect or direct taxation of the people in society. This is normally based on a residual model of welfare, whereby the line is drawn for ability to claim certain services at the absolute poverty line. This type of welfare is aimed to be a type of safety net for the poorest in society to not drop below a standard of living. For example, the services like the NHS which is open to every British citizen is a form of public welfare, which is funded through taxation. Although the other side of this public welfare is benefits which are designated for those who are more permanently in need than others, e.g. disabled persons, the elderly or others who are unable to work for whatever reason. These are normally means tested based on some kind of income or savings. For instance you can be financed by the state to have certain things adapted in the home (for elderly persons or disabled); your savings have to be less than around £23,000 and if they are higher you have to pay. So in this way the government give benefits of free installations, free equipment etc to those who need it most but can't afford it.

The implications of these public benefits is that those who are in most need or in poverty are helped by the government. Therefore people who are unable to work can live adequate lives that they otherwise might not be able to provide for themselves. However this might not be the case; Ashford (1993 - a libertarian new right perspective) suggests reasons for going against public welfare; the first being that income is forcibly redistributed through taxation to those who politicians says are in need. In this way, it suggested that funding the public welfare section by taxes is unjust as tax payers money is being removed, sometimes without them consenting. His second point also relates to Murray the American sociologist who named the people dependant on welfare as a separate class; the ‘underclass’, Ashford relates this to how the public and universal welfare state creates a class dependant on it; a 'dependency culture’ develops from this. Evidence form this has been investigated by sociologists who found that those who receive social security benefits stand to lose 70-90p if they then go into paid work from benefits, so it’s not financially fusible to leave benefits. Ashford suggests that private welfare services are more catered to the individual and can provide better and more specialised care. It could also be argued that instead of the benefits helping the most, the taxation that funds it isn’t redistributed around to society (social classes) to solve the problem,

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