Localism and poverty in the United Kingdom: the case of Local Welfare Assistance

Grover, Christopher (2012) Localism and poverty in the United Kingdom: the case of Local Welfare Assistance. Policy Studies, 33 (4). pp. 349-365. ISSN 0144-2872

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This article focuses on the UK’s Coalition Government’s plans to abolish the discretionary Social Fund and replace it, at least in part, with Local Welfare Assistance (LWA). The article examines this proposal by locating LWA in debates about localism, the idea of which in policy terms unites the two political parties that make up the Coalition government. The article explores the Coalition government’s approach to localism and debates about it, and related issues concerning autonomy, freedom and democracy. It then goes on to examine the reasons for the abolition of the discretionary Social Fund and the Coalition government’s plans for LWA. The article notes that LWA is framed by a discourse related to the Coalition government’s view of the importance of localised solutions to entrenched economic and social problems. However, it is argued, that in the case of ‘exceptional expenses’ provision, localism is equally, if not more, problematic than the Social Fund administered by central government. This is because the most problematic aspects of the Social Fund are to continue when LWA is introduced and these problems will be augmented by the difficulties that local politics bring to the relief of poverty. The article concludes that while it is difficult to differentiate whether the Coalition government is planning to localise ‘exceptional expenses’ support because of ideology or pragmatism, such a move is likely to have a detrimental impact on income poor people.

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Journal Article
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Policy Studies
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09 Oct 2012 13:49
Last Modified:
15 Feb 2022 03:37