Benefits in the Future
The publication of the Welfare Reform Bill this week has marked the start of a period of debate and development.
What’s clear is that it also marks a new direction in benefits’ policy and a new direction in benefits’ practice.
The two don’t necessarily go hand in hand. We’ve seen policy changes reflected in the same benefits system in the past; indeed the benefits system has been a political football since its inception but in the last twenty five years while the ball may have been kicked around the field, the pitch has stayed, more or less, the same.
This time there is a policy, with an unusual consensus across parties, which doesn’t seem to redefine who the deserving poor are but a policy which abolishes the very concept of the deserving poor.
The policy change is reflected in a design for a new benefits system whose radical change masks, in many ways, a systematic dismantling of much previous support.
This blog is unashamedly self-indulgent and self-serving.
I want somewhere that I can jot my thoughts down during, and after, the progress of the Bill. I want people to sanity check my thoughts, so that I can correct myself. I want to use other peoples insight and expertise to inform my ideas. I want to propose, argue, demolish and be demolished. I want other people to post their analyses, their ideas and their opinions, but I reserve, entirely arbitrarily, the right to remove comment I think irrelevant, defamatory or boring. What I won’t do is edit in anyway to alter meaning.
I’ll begin with some jottings from my first reading of the 175 pages of the bill, bits that strike me as interesting, odd or illustrative.