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MPs' attitudes to welfare: a new consensus?

By Hugh Bochel and Andrew Defty


The post-war ‘consensus’ on welfare was based largely in the perceived agreement of leading politicians of Conservative and Labour parties on the role of the mixed economy and the welfare state. However, from the late 1970s economic and demographic pressures and ideological challenges, particularly from the New Right, led to cuts in spending on welfare, increased private involvement and an emphasis on more individualistic and selectivist approaches to provision. Recently some scholars have begun to discuss the emergence of a ‘new liberal consensus’ around welfare provision.\ud \ud Drawing upon interviews with ten per cent of the House of Commons, this article examines the extent to which a new political consensus upon welfare can be identified. In addition to analysing responses to questions upon welfare issues it considers the extent to which MPs themselves believe there to be some degree of consensus in approaches to welfare. It also considers whether any consensus exists merely in the political language used in relation to welfare issues, or whether there is a more substantive convergence

Topics: L200 Politics, L400 Social Policy
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Year: 2007
DOI identifier: 10.1017/S0047279406000341
OAI identifier:

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