Coming together in a rightward direction: post-1980s changing attitudes to the British welfare state

Christopher Deeming, Ron Johnston

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    Major changes in the British welfare state were initiated during the 1980s in response to the 1970s’ stagflation, rapid globalisation and the government’s inability to ensure full employment: the relatively unrestricted payment of unemployment benefits was replaced by a jobseekers’ allowance with applicants obliged to seek work actively and, if required, undergo training. Public support for this shift lagged behind the policy introductions, but from 1997 on there was a major change in attitudes towards welfare beneficiaries. Analysis of social attitude survey data for 1983-2011 shows this change occurred during the decade of relative prosperity under the New Labour governments. There was a growing concentration of anti-welfare attitudes across all social groups, regions and supporters of the main political parties.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)395–413
    Number of pages19
    JournalQuality and Quantity
    Issue number1
    Early online date20 Mar 2017
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


    • welfare
    • workfare
    • public attitudes

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