This paper shows that the 1930s were the last time the population of Britain was as polarised in terms of their health as we are today. It was not simply the introduction of the NHS that halved inequalities in health in Britain between the 1930s and early 1950s. The overall improvement in living standards brought about by the introduction of the welfare state had a significant impact. When it comes to providing a health service, it is harder to provide a good health service in a more economically unequal country. This paper suggests that policies 'in place of fear' need not be costly but they need to present a genuine commitment to tackling inequality.
Proponents of the argument that tax-financed or ‘free’ health care is a privilege we can no longer afford are unable to explain why universal health care was instituted when the world’s economy was very much smaller than it is today. This paper asks - if the UK could create an NHS when the country was literally bankrupt, why in England (but not in Scotland or Wales) can the government not sustain the NHS today? They suggest the answer is political and not financial and that the response of the left must be political too.
This paper argues that our current land economy does not serve us well. In response, it proposes a Land Value Tax for the UK. A Land Value Tax, targeted at unproductive wealth and speculation, could help deliver the house-building revolution – and the economic revival – our country desperately needs. In the end though, the proposition is simple. The few who own this land of ours should not get off tax-free while too many people cannot afford a decent home.
This paper seeks to show that the policy of austerity that has increased idleness and has now given rise to the additional problem of disguised underemployment, makes no economic sense. Focusing on fiscal and taxation policies, Richard Murphy and Howard Reed argue that, as in Beveridge's time, the global recession now provides another revolutionary moment in which new thinking is required.
Universalism is once again edging up the political agenda. This underlying principle behind the welfare state has always been reviled by those who wish to see it dismantled, but more immediately concerning is a growing acceptance that in order to protect vital public services the ideal of universal coverage should be abandoned in favour of selectivity. Due to these concerns, this paper puts forward the case for universalism by examining its effects on society; the economy; taxation, redistribution and equality; and political philosophy, whilst debating, in contrast, the problems that come with selectivity.
This pamphlet is the first in a series of mythbusters from Class and Red Pepper, designed to expose the realities behind the recurring myths which often scew the debate on welfare.
Beveridge's 1942 Report was first and foremost a plan for the abolition of want. Yet want, in the form of poverty, has proved far from easy to abolish. This paper attempts to understand why, 70 years after the Beveridge Report, poverty continues to be so prevalent and will attempt to suggest what a renewed attack on want might look like.
'Tackling Squalor' was commissioned as part of the Social State series to address the Giant Evil of ‘squalor’ and propose new policy priorities for housing in 2015 Britain. This paper argues that the best way to counter the residualisation of social housing and the spatial concentration of social housing tenants is to radically increase the supply of social housing.
This first paper in the Social State series of work looks at what we can learn from Beveridge’s analysis of society and explores how his Giant Evils can be redefined for today.
This paper argues that the market will fail to meet our housing challenges: the government must step in to ensure we build enough new homes, of the right sort, in the right places. The historic record shows that private house-building alone will not produce enough new homes, and furthermore a market free-for-all will not solve the country’s complex housing crisis.
With an abundance of evidence, Why Inequality Matters shows that the scourge of inequality has had a real role in the current economic crisis. The pursuit of equality is not just a moral imperative, not just vital for the poor and for the social cohesion and wellbeing of society, it is also necessary for a stable economy.
The current policy status quo is one that valorizes choice whilst rarely recognizing that choices come with resources that remain very unequally distributed. Tinkering with an unjust educational system is not going to transform it into a just system. The building blocks of a socially just educational system lie outside in wider society, but before any building can be done the right foundations must be laid. This paper outlines some of the ideas behind what it may take to achieve a socially just education system.
For more than thirty years the politics of the UK and most other western democracies has been dominated by a notable and consistent adherence to a single consensus on tax issues. But as this paper makes clear, there are clear economic and social arguments for progressive taxation. The counter-arguments are weak. However, the gains for society that progressive taxation can deliver are dependent upon creating a new social consensus. Tax could be the means for building that 21st century economic consensus and this paper sets out a research and policy programme that could create that agenda.
In his paper for Class Prof Malcolm Sawyer explains why the austerity programme is economically irrational, socially irresponsible, and fundamentally lacks credibility in its central goal of reducing the budget deficit. He argues instead that the reduction of the budget deficit can only come from a revival of private demand which is harmed by an austerity programme.
This Think Piece argues that if the UK is to achieve a sustainable recovery from the current financial crisis, the wage share needs to be restored to post-war levels and the great concentrations of income and wealth broken up.