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In the lead up to the 2010 Election the Social Policy Association (SPA) published In Defence of Welfare - a commentary on challenges facing any incoming government. For the 2015 election In Defence of Welfare 2has now been launched: and Birmingham academic are some of the main contributors to the series of short essays. Of the nearly fifty short pieces seven have been written by academics in the School of Social Policy, HMSC and TSRC.
Demonstrating the breadth of interest and cutting edge research the commentaries cover a range of key areas of concern for social policy:
- High–cost credit and welfare reform Jodi Gardner, University of Oxford and Karen Rowlingson, University of Birmingham
- Financial inclusion Lindsey Appleyard, University of Birmingham, Karen Rowlingson, University of Birmingham and Stephen McKay, University of Lincoln
- The coming of age of progressive neo–liberal conservative 'welfarism' under the Coalition Government of 2010–15 Robert M Page, University of Birmingham
- Adult social care Jon Glasby, Robin Miller and Catherine Needham, University of Birmingham
- Big Society or welfare failure: How does food insecurity reflect future welfare trends? Lee Gregory and Ricky Joseph, University of Birmingham
- The voluntary and faith sector: 'tepping up' or 'waving but drowning' in the era of Austerity? James Rees, Rob Macmillan and Heather Buckingham, University of Birmingham
- The Big Society and the third sector Pete Alcock, University of Birmingham
Fundamentally In Defence of Welfare 2 highlights the increased inequalities in income, wealth and well-being which have seemingly become firmly entrenched in society over the Coalition Government’s term of office and examines how the Coalition Government has surprisingly little understanding of how inequalities are played out in society - or the consequences of their wider changes to provision of welfare services. The Birmingham contributions demonstrate how coalition policies represent an attack on the most 'disadvantaged', and likely consequnces for those struggling to survive as the state is rolled back in favour for and increased role of the voluntary and faith sector in responding to insufficiencies of state welfare: especially the use of food-banks.
Importantly, In Defence of Welfare 2 considers how welfare can and should develop in order to promote a more equal society, one which provides for the needs of those with the lowest and most precarious incomes in the UK.