Welfare Reforma different perspectiveDr Simon Duffy ￭ The Centre for Welfare Reform ￭Welsh Focus Conference ￭ 4th April 2012
Dr Simon Duffy• Director of The Centre for Welfare Reform - independent R&D network of over 70 fellows - based in Sheffield, in the North of England.• Policy advisor to the Campaign for a Fair Society.• Honorary Senior Research Fellow at University of Birmingham’s Health Service Management Centre.• Developed concepts like individual budgets, self-directed support etc.
A different perspective on welfare1. Welfare Reform is not welfare reform.2. There are good reasons to reform welfare.3. Left and Right mostly agree, and are mostly wrong.4. Real focus should be on citizenship, family, community and social justice.5. Disabled people will be great guides out of our current confusion.
Welfare Reform is not welfare reformWikipedia defines welfare reform asreducing welfare state, increasingpersonal responsibilitybut Wikipedia is wrong
The welfare state is a good thing• We need a collective system of income security and rights.• The post-war welfare state was a great achievement.• The conditions that made the welfare state necessary have increased not diminished.• The vital securities that human beings need depend totally upon our shared political and economic choices.
The welfare state is designed wrong• Designed in a paternalistic and industrial age• It’s current design stigmatises and damages the poorest• It’s complexity and obscurity undermines citizenship for everyone - much of it does not feel universal• Let’s not just hark back - let’s build something better
There are good reasons to reformwelfare1. It does not do enough to reduce poverty2. It often undermines our active citizenship3. It often fails to support families4. It often fails to encourage community innovation5. It is far too centralised and wasteful
Problem 1We think the welfare stateserves the poorbut it makes hardly anyimpact on levels ofinequality
Problem 2Citizens have rights,control their own lives andsupport each otherThe current welfare systemoften takes control away
Problem 5The UK now has the mostcentralised welfare statein the worldand its getting worse
Where does all the money go? • As a proportion of state spending there is £900 million missing from Barnsley’s economy. • Benefits biggest expenditure - no local control • NHS largest service - no local control • Education - now centrally controlled • Employment support - centrally commissioned
It is striking how littledifference there is between Leftand RightInstead, we need to tap intodemocratic and community-focused traditions
the loud argument• State = good • Markets = good• Markets fail • States can’t plan• Give help • Give choice• Increase services • Cut taxes that disguises
the quiet assumption of• Meritocracy - society should be led by the ‘best’ people - politicians, civil servants or business men• People can’t be trusted - people must be governed by fear or greed• Economic growth is the goal - growth creates money for taxes and for profit
an alternative• Democracy is vital - we cannot entrust our lives into the hands of an elite• Citizenship is the means - we must be trusted to improve our own lives as part of our communities• Social Justice is the goal - we need the rights and duties that enable and support citizenship
Wales does not need to repeat thispattern of elitist thinkingThe current commitment to citizen-directed support is encouraging.
In future our focus should be on: citizenship family community social justice
Achieving citizenship1. Purpose - set my own direction2. Control - get charge of my life3. Money - use my own means4. Home - as part of my community5. Needs - with help from others6. Gifts - to make my own contribution
Disabled people will be the bestguides on how to escape from ourcurrent confusion• Current government cuts target disabled people• Disabled people are perceived to be a weak group• But disabled people know better than others how welfare should be reformed
• 58% of all cuts target disabled people and people in poverty• 36% of all cuts target disabled people• 24% of all cuts target the 1.9% of the population who need social care - those with the most severe impairments
• Unfair - target those who are most disadvantaged• Unfair - make an unequal society even more unequal• Unfair - target the groups that didn’t benefit from the economic bubble
• Prejudice against and fear of disabled people• Political weakness of disabled people• Particularity of social care and benefit systems• Confusion about the welfare system
Everyone is equal, no matter their age,diﬀerences or disabilities.A fair society sees each of its members as a fullcitizen - a unique person with a life of their own.A fair society is organised to support everyoneto live a full life, with meaning and respect.
1.Human rights - not services2.Clear entitlements - not confusion3.Early support - not crisis4.Equal access - not institutional care5.Choice and control - not dependence6.Fair incomes - not insecurity7.Fair taxes - not targeted8.Financial reform - sustainable
Actions...• Join the Campaign• Connect to the Centre• Organise a Welsh alternative to welfare reform