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Understanding social security
Issues for policy and practice

Jane Millar
Paperback, 344 pages, 240 x 172 mm
Other formats available
02 Feb 2009
Understanding Welfare: Social Issues, Policy and Practice series


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North America customers can order this book here from the University of Chicago Press.

".....the book is to be highly recommended for its intended audience."
Barbara Waine in The Journal of Poverty and Social Justice
"Social security reform has been central to New Labour’s approach to modernising the welfare state. This updated second edition of this popular text brings together some of the leading writers in the field to provide a critical analysis of the recent changes to the social security system". Dr. Liam Foster, Department of Sociological Studies, University of Sheffield

About This Book

In an increasingly risky world the need for social security support is greater than ever. Benefits and tax credits aim to provide protection against economic risks, help families with the costs of bringing up children, enable people to save for retirement, and provide support in old age. Key goals are to redistribute income to alleviate poverty and help people maintain living standards across the lifecourse. Reform of the social security and tax systems has been at the heart of the UK Labour government's aspirations to modernise the welfare state since 1997 with major changes in both policy and administration. This second edition of the important text, Understanding Social Security, reviews these policy developments, giving readers the information and analytical tools to make sense of policy debates and reforms and to evaluate options for the future. The chapters have been extensively updated since the first edition, with new chapters on social security reform, inequalities and social security, and the new 'welfare market'. The main topics covered include: · the social security safety net · racism, ethnicity, migration · social security governance · global social security · social security and the life course · the challenge of childhood poverty · reforming pensions · welfare to work · sickness, incapacity and disability · tax credits · service delivery information technology The book provides a critical examination of social security policy and practice and is essential reading for students of social policy, social work and sociology, as well as policy-makers and practitioners in the fields of social security, welfare-to-work, employment, anti-poverty strategies and welfare rights. It will be of interest to those interested in recent policy developments in these areas, emerging issues and debates, and in wider issues of the modernisation of the welfare state.

Author Biography

Jane Millar is Professor of Social Policy and Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research at the University of Bath, UK. She has written widely on issues of social security policy, in particular on family policy and the policy implications of family change.


Social security: means and ends ~ Jane Millar
Part one : Foundations and contexts: Social security challenges: past and future ~ Jane Millar &
Fran Bennett
The social security safety net ~ Saul Becker &
Bill Silburn
Racism, ethnicity, migration and social security ~ Ian Law
Governing social security: from protection to markets ~ Emma Carmel and Theodoros Papadopoulos; Social security in global context ~ Nicola Yeates
Part two: Lifecourse &
Labour Markets: 'From cradle to grave': social security and the life course ~ Karen Rowlingson
Benefiting children? the challenge of childhood poverty ~ Tess Ridge
Reforming pensions: investing in the future ~ Stephen McKay
Welfare to work ~ Sharon Wright
Sickness, incapacity and disability ~ Roy Sainsbury
Tax credits ~ Jane Millar
Part three: Users &
Providers: Service delivery and the user ~ Bruce Stafford
The 'Welfare Market': the role of the private sector in the delivery of benefits and employment services ~ Dan Finn
Social security in the 'information age' ~ John Hudson
After word ~ Jane Millar.


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