The Chancellor of the Exchequer recently declared that Britain can no longer afford the cost of the welfare state and has promised to make it fairer for those who need it, as well as for those who pay for it. As the 2015 general election approaches, differences between the main political parties on the issue of what used to be called ‘social security’ mainly amount to how much to cut and when. Long-term economic security and the end of a something for nothing culture are the order of the day with ‘scroungerphobia’ (Deacon, 1978: 124) making an unwelcome return. The idea of a more expansive system of protection for people at the margins of our society does not attract much discussion at present. And yet, some parts of the welfare state are actually becoming more inclusive and relaxed. Policies such as a reduction in the highest rate of income tax, increased childcare allowances, a proposal to cut inheritance tax and the development of ‘social investment bonds’ represent a more inclusive approach to welfare provision, especially for higher earners. This article argues that, far from being too generous to people reliant on benefits for their income, the welfare system, understood in a broad sense, does not adequately include or protect them and suggests that as well as ‘defending’ welfare, we should be exploring ‘ways of extending the welfare state to the poor’ (Titmuss, 1965: 20).
|Title of host publication||In Defence of Welfare 2|
|Editors||Liam Foster, Anne Brunton, Chris Deeming, Tina Haux|
|Place of Publication||Bristol|
|Number of pages||188|
|Publication status||Published - 17 Apr 2015|