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Social Policy in a Cold Climate

Social Policy in a Cold Climate: policies and their consequences since the crisis
Edited by Ruth Lupton, Tania Burchardt, John Hills, Kitty Stewart and Polly Vizard
20 Apr 2016
Publisher: Policy Press
ISBN-13: 978-1447327721

A new book published by Policy Press offers a data-rich, evidence-based analysis of the impact government policies from 2007/08 to 2015 have had on inequality and on the delivery of services such as health, education, adult social care, housing and employment in the wake of the greatest recession of our time. Through a detailed look at spending, outputs and outcomes, the book offers a unique appraisal of Labour and the coalition’s impact as well as an insightful assessment of future directions under the present Conservative government.

The editors conclude that although the financial crisis and subsequent recession hit the economy hard, Britain’s welfare state did successfully protect many of the most vulnerable from its sharpest effects. However, that protection was not uniform. In the labour market, for example, young adults were hardest hit, while those of pension age had their cash incomes protected. The book explains how the policy changes of the coalition years have set in train a conscious reshaping of the welfare state, now being carried much further by the new Conservative government. This means that across a series of risks and life events from the early years to care needs in old age, more people will face those risks on their own. They conclude: “The already cold climate for much of social policy and many of those most affected by it looks likely to become colder still.”

Data from each chapter is available to download here

The book is published as part of the SPCC research programme funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the Nuffield Foundation, with London-specific analysis funded by the Trust for London. The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the funders.