How to fix the welfare state

How to fix the welfare stateI’ve just received the first copies of my new book, How to fix the welfare state.   The brilliant cartoon on the cover, showing Beveridge’s Five Giants and their plus one, is by Dave Simonds.

The book reviews a series of problems and issues in British social services.  If you think the Welfare State hasn’t changed, in the course of nearly 75 years, think again.  Social security was meant to be based on insurance; increasingly, it’s based on means testing.  Social care hardly existed in its present form; nor did child protection. Health care has seen the closure of long stay hospitals and the development of group medical practices in the community. Education now is mainly delivered in comprehensive schools and mass universities.  Council housing has largely been supplanted by a system of means-tested benefits intended to pay for rents. And other areas of activity are newly established, notably equalities and employment support.

Each of the chapters in the book outlines the structure of services, the impact of some false and misleading narratives, and the real problems that need to be addressed. The book outlines where approaches to the services have gone wrong, and makes suggestions about what they need to do to get things right.  Attempts to make services more personal, to offer more choice or to make them run more like businesses have distracted us from what welfare is meant to do.  The Welfare State should be aiming to provide decent standards for everyone. In the book, I make the case for services that are more predictable and offer greater security: more universal and less reliant on commercial markets.

The reviewers have commented:

“An honest and realistic appraisal of the current state of welfare. The analyses and insights are illuminating and thought-provoking and should be required reading for a wide range of professionals.” Steve J. Hothersall, Edge Hill University

“Spicker draws upon his four decades of writing to analyse the current position of ‘the welfare state’. An unmissable contribution written in the best traditions of social administration.” Bob Hudson, University of Kent

This is a personal take on the welfare state; I had things to say, and thought it was time to say them.

Additional note, 27th January: An irresistible review from Ms Bennett Junior!

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