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Social policy in a cold climate: spending, policies and outcomes since the economic crisis in the UK

Obolenskaya, Polina (2018) Social policy in a cold climate: spending, policies and outcomes since the economic crisis in the UK. Observatoire de la Société Britannique (19). ISSN 1957-3383

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This paper draws on extensive work undertaken with colleagues at the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion (CASE) at the London School of Economics, during the Social Policy in a Cold Climate research programme (2011-2015), and on the book that followed. It provides a brief overview of some of the findings which report on the responses of the UK government to the recession of 2008 in terms of public spending and policies and their effect on poverty, inequality and distribution of social and economic outcomes. For a number of areas of social policy this paper shows that while the initial response of the Labour government to the financial crisis was to continue the investment in public services, with increased spending and emphasis on the need to ‘support vulnerable groups through the downturn’, the period that followed, under the Coalition government, can be characterised as that of ‘selective austerity’, with significant cuts to a number of spending areas accompanied by a range of major reforms. Although both governments expressed their commitment to a fairer and more equal society, by 2014/15 the challenges of social justice remained and some were even greater thanbefore the recession. This paper was presented at a Conference in Paris, supported by the Universities of Paris 1 and Paris 3, together with Policy Network in London and several institutional partners on the 3rd December 2016.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2017 Observatoire de la société britannique
Divisions: STICERD
Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Sets: Research centres and groups > Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines (STICERD)
Research centres and groups > Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion (CASE)
Date Deposited: 16 Jan 2018 11:33
Last Modified: 12 Aug 2021 23:15

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