The role of redistribution in social policy

John Hills

in Welfare and wellbeing

Published by Policy Press

Published in print October 2001 | ISBN: 9781861342997
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447304203 | DOI:
The role of redistribution in social policy

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This chapter picks up and develops some of the ideas in ‘The social division of welfare’, particularly the arbitrariness of what was seen as a ‘social service’ because it involved public spending, as distinct from other forms of fiscal and occupational welfare. It notes that Titmuss rejects this view of social policy as consisting of public spending in specified areas as both inadequate, because of what it omits, and misleading in implying that welfare provision is unproblematically redistributive from those with more to those with less income. It provides a powerful statement of the case against services solely delivered to the poor through a means test. It develops Titmuss's comparison of social, fiscal, and occupational welfare and their distributional effects, providing examples of the often more favourable treatment of those with high than those with low incomes. It identifies a huge contemporary issue: equality of access to universal services does not guarantee equality of treatment.

Keywords: welfare; public spending; occupational welfare; social policy; poor; means test; equality; universal services

Chapter.  4516 words. 

Subjects: Health, Illness, and Medicine

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