The United Kingdom: new devolved welfare systems in Britain

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This chapter examines welfare developments in the United Kingdom (UK) and the changing British welfare state. It begins with a brief historical overview before moving on to consider social reforms in the 1998–2018 period and the devolution of welfare in Britain. The chapter looks at the general structures of the British welfare system as a whole, in terms of social spending levels and societal outcomes for poverty and inequality. It then examines the following policy areas in more detail: social assistance, old-age and pensions policy, labour market policy, family policy, health and social care, housing, and education. It also reviews the continuities and discontinuities, changing policy paradigms, and ideas underpinning the social reform agenda. The chapter also reflects on welfare trajectories now that the UK (as a whole) has voted to leave the EU. It is significant that while England and Wales voted for Brexit, Scotland and Northern Ireland voted Remain.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of European Welfare Systems
EditorsSonja Blum, Johanna Kuhlmann, Klaus Schubert
Place of PublicationAbingdon, Oxon
Number of pages24
Edition2nd Edition
ISBN (Print)9780367259150
Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2019


  • welfare state
  • United Kingdom
  • welfare systems


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