Chapter

The Fourth Labour government: 1984–90

Michael O’Brien

in Poverty, policy and the state

Published by Policy Press

Published in print November 2007 | ISBN: 9781861347992
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447303046 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1332/policypress/9781861347992.003.0007
The Fourth Labour government: 1984–90

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The 1984–90 period can be characterised by an initial focus on benefit adequacy and poverty, reiteration of the historical emphasis on citizenship, and on setting benefit rules at a level that would ensure beneficiaries could participate as full citizens. Over the six years, that focus began to shift, a shift which reflected the growth of neoliberal politics in relation to the role of the state and the relationship between the state and the individual. In that shift, work incentives, dependency, and paid work and its associated and consequential self-reliance displaced benefit adequacy and poverty as the major considerations. Moreover, the shifts in the approach to social security occurred alongside significant growth in income inequality and in unemployment.

Keywords: poverty; social security; benefit adequacy; citizenship; neoliberal politics; income inequality

Chapter.  9194 words. 

Subjects: Social Stratification, Inequality, and Mobility

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