The welfare dimension of Labour’s Devolution proposals
The future of the welfare state has been a key feature of the referendum campaign. Against the backdrop of the UK government’s controversial welfare reforms, the Scottish government and Yes Scotland have argued that an independent Scotland would oversee a more progressive, fairer welfare system. The Labour Party’s Devolution Commission proposals, published yesterday, are likely to reinforce the centrality of the welfare issue. But Labour’s welfare state is unmistakably British.
If you were a politician, what would be your preferred method of reducing inequality and poverty? Would you look to plug the gap between wages and food prices by giving more money to charity? Would you push for a considerable increase in the minimum wage and keep your fingers crossed that not too many jobs would be lost as a result? Or would you go for something radical – a Citizen’s Income, perhaps, or a shorter working week for all?
A version of this blog appeared in the Guardian, 11 March 2014
At its height, the welfare state was a symbol of nationhood and solidarity that helped Scots to feel at home in Britain. Nowadays, much of the core welfare state functions have been devolved to the Scottish Parliament. The one that remains at Westminster - social security - is taking a battering.
Richard Parry addresses the evolution of Scottish welfare policy, noting that 'it is clear that UK welfare reform policy has had the unintended effect of knocking social protection like a curling stone into the house of Scottish-driven policy debate'