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The Divisive Welfare State

Taylor-Gooby, Peter (2016) The Divisive Welfare State. Social Policy and Administration, 50 (6). pp. 712-733. ISSN 1467-9515. (doi:10.1111/spol.12257) (KAR id:56188)

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An important tradition in social policy writing sees the welfare state as an agent of social cohesion against the conflicts of market capitalism. Social policy in the UK is now developing in a way that directly conflicts with this approach. This may signal the future direction of change in other countries, as crisis and slow growth limit available resources and governments become increasingly committed to neo-liberal and consolidation agenda. The 2010 Conservative-led Coalition and 2015 Conservative governments in the UK use social policy to exacerbate and embed social divisions as part of a project to achieve permanent cuts in welfare state spending without damaging their own electoral chances. This paper reviews the divisive welfare state policies in relation to taxation, benefits for working age people and for immigrants and between pensioners and non-pensioners because these groups cover much of welfare state activity and are currently salient in a way that gives the project political purchase. It goes on to argue that the divisions mask a further neo-liberal long-term project of reducing the proportion of national resources going to all recipients of social spending. In this sense we are all in it together.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1111/spol.12257
Projects: ESRC Norface Project
Uncontrolled keywords: welfare state; retrenchment; pensions; UK; Conservative party; social cohesion, social divisions
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
Depositing User: Lucie Patch
Date Deposited: 30 Jun 2016 09:29 UTC
Last Modified: 17 Aug 2022 12:20 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Taylor-Gooby, Peter:
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