Sociology - Wealth, Poverty and Work - Responses to Poverty and Social Policy.

HideShow resource information

Different responses to poverty with reference to role of social policy:


1945-1970’s: State controlling and providing provision through the UNIVERSAL MODEL OF WELFARE The beveridge report, want, ignorance, disease, squalor, idleness. These reported in policies between 1944 and 1948 brought the NHS, extension of schooling, social security system, the welfare state.

1979-1997: The Conservatives come to power in 1979 and want to reduce state spending on health and welfare – they followed.

RESIDUAL MODEL OF WELFARE and promoted a mixed economy of welfare provision using statutory, private and voluntary agencies.

1997 – 2010: A Labour government took office in 1997 and developed the ‘Third Way’ – state intervention increased in some instances and was reduced in other instances through the expanding use of private and voluntary sector agencies INSTITUTIONAL MODEL OF WELFARE.

2010 - Present: Both the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats come to power in 2010, promoting mainly the Conservative policy of spending cuts and state they want to support ‘an open society that gives fair chances to everyone’, increasing social mobility.

Universal model of welfare:

Beveridge Report 1942 identified ‘five evils’ which were:

  • Want (poverty), Ignorance, Disease, Squalor, and Idleness.

These resulted in policies being introduced between 1944 and 1948 which brought the NHS, extension of schooling , the social security system, increase in social housing and commitment to full employment. This system became known as ‘the welfare state’.

Social Democratic 1944-1979:

  • Role of government policies to act as safety net.

  • Some groups in society (e.g. elderly, the sick etc) unable to compete for jobs so state policies needed to prevent them falling into absolute poverty.

  • Economic and political changes (e.g. globalisation) result in some skills, training and qualifications becoming redundant so state policies needed to retrain, develop required skills and qualifications or find work in a different area of the economy.

  • Poverty is a political problem because some people are likely to turn to illegal means of money-making (crime, prostitution, drug-dealing etc).

  • Moved away from idea of ‘deserving poor’ to thinking of poor as ‘in need’.

  • Policies aimed at redistribution of wealth through progressive taxation (more you earn more you pay).


  • Giddens (1999) SD approach has failed to respond to social, political and economic changes which occurred in 1980s in the UK.

  • Welfare state stuck in the 1940s model of society i.e. failed to respond to single parenthood and changing position of women in society.

  • Changing characteristics of family e.g. typical family in 1990s reconstituted, lone parent, no working adult.

  • Cost of welfare too great given increase in standard of living and definition of poverty welfare state was originally based on.


Following Beveridge report Welfare state was established. 1950s - 1970s: Welfare consensus. 1970s onwards - gradual shift towards residual model of welfare because: reduction in economic growth; growing cost of welfare state (both Heath and Callaghan looked at ways of reducing spending) questions being asked about efficiency of welfare state i.e. in 1970s 70% of public expenditure was on welfare state but


No comments have yet been made

Similar Sociology resources:

See all Sociology resources »See all Poverty, wealth and welfare resources »