Social Issues and Party Politics by Helen Jones, Susanne MacGregor

By Helen Jones, Susanne MacGregor

After the landslide election of a brand new Labour govt in may possibly 1997, what are the most important social coverage concerns and difficulties which the hot govt must handle? Social concerns and social gathering Politics appears on the manifestos of the most events and how social concerns figured within the 1997 election crusade and the early days of the recent executive. Chapters speak about eco-friendly concerns, the administration and financing of welfare in modern Britain, the supply of key prone in wellbeing and fitness, schooling, employment, felony justice, housing, own social companies, pensions and different components of social defense. the actual situations of Northern eire, Scotland and Wales also are tested. Social matters and occasion Politics takes social coverage past the soundbite and offers a powerful and incisive research of present social coverage techniques and inherited difficulties. It identifies the deep social questions for you to have to be addressed if Labour is to carry on its promise of a brand new Britain.

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Within central government departments, the Rayner scrutinies introduced by the first Thatcher Government were concerned with uncovering inefficiency and waste, while the Financial Management Initiative, launched in 1981, involved moves towards delegated authority and accountable management. The first Thatcher Government also created the Audit Commission, with responsibility for ensuring value for money in local authorities. The development of such initiatives as cost improvement programmes, the Resource Management Initiative and general management were directed at improving efficiency in the National Health Service.

The policies, as the following chapters show, display strong continuities with the preceding Conservative governments. Common themes in policies which have been carried over include consumerism, value for money, standards, competition and choice, flexibility and deregulation, and financial stringency in resourcing. These themes, however, are now mixed with other ones which were not prioritised by the Conservatives. The new Government is recognising that socioeconomic deprivation excludes sections of society from the opportunity to be financially independent and secure, to share in the common good life, and to enjoy a genuine stake in society.

In mid-1996, a fresh purge on public spending was announced in an attempt to deal with the PSBR, standing then at £27 billion. Sceptics believed this might herald tax cuts prior to the election but, in the event, in his autumn budget, Kenneth Clarke remained true to his commitment to fiscal prudence. After 1997, a crisis of funding in the public sector is predicted (IFS 1997; Millard 1997) exacerbated by the fact that the decay of the infrastructure can hardly be much longer ignored. The Treasury had been making preparations for this.

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