Why We Need a New Social settlement
By Anna Coote / neweconomics.org
Feb 17, 2015

How do we live together and relate to one another?  How can we make sure that everyone has an equal chance to lead a fulfilling and secure life?  What’s the best way to help each other when things go wrong that we cannot cope with alone? 

These are just some of the challenges facing our society today. They raise wider questions about our relationship with each other and with the government, the role of the welfare state, and the quality of everyday life.

In a major new report out today, we set out proposals for a new social settlement. It defends and builds on the best of Britain’s welfare state but calls for urgent changes, because there are new risks that threaten our well-being and our future: widening social and economic inequalities; accumulations of power by wealthy elites; and the imminent danger of catastrophic damage to the natural environment. 

Our new social settlement has three goals:

  • Social justice – wellbeing and equality are essential for people to lead a good, fulfilling life, and to participate in society.
  • Environmental sustainability – we must live within environmental limits to ensure that the natural resources needed for life are protected and preserved for present and future generations.
  • A more equal distribution of power – people should be able to participate in and influence decisions at local and national levels, reducing current inequalities in power.

 

To achieve these goals, the report sets out new priorities for policy and practice. It highlights issues that tend to be overlooked by policy-makers and points to a new direction of travel. It represents NEF’s contribution to wider debates about what kind of society we want for the future.

For a start, we cannot rely on continuing economic growth to produce more and more tax revenues to pay for more and better public services.  Instead, we must shift investment and action upstream to measures that prevent harm, rather than simply cope with the consequences.  We must value and nurture the ‘core economy’ – all those everyday human resources and unpaid activities that underpin the formal economy.  And we must reclaim and strengthen the idea of solidarity: understanding each other’s needs and interests, and sharing responsibility – not just in close-knit groups, but between groups of different kinds and across generations.

Building on this approach, the report outlines proposals for practical change

Rebalance work and time:

  • a new industrial and labour market strategy to achieve high quality and sustainable jobs for all, with a stronger role for employees in decision-making
  • ­a gradual move towards shorter and more flexible hours of paid work for all aiming for 30 hours as the new standard working week
  • ­an offensive against low pay to achieve decent hourly rates for all
  • high quality, affordable childcare for all who need it

 

Release human resources:

  • support and encourage the unvalued and unpaid assets and activities that are found in everyday life beyond the formal economy
  • adopt as standard the principles of co-production so that service users and providers work together to meet needs
  • ­change the way public services are commissioned to focus on outcomes and co-production

 

Strengthen social security:

  • turn the tide against markets and profit seeking, developing instead more diverse, open and collaborative public services
  • ­build a more rounded, inclusive and democratic benefits system

 

Plan for a sustainable future:

  • ­promote eco-social policies - such as active travel and retro-fitting homes - that help to achieve both social justice and environmental sustainability
  • ­offset the socially regressive effects of carbon pricing and other pro-environmental policies
  • ­ensure that public institutions lead by example
  • ­establish new ways of future-proofing policies

 

Seven decades on from William Beveridge’s ground-breaking report, it is high time for a wider debate about a new social settlement that meets the challenges of the 21st century.

4.0 ·
1
Trending Today
How a Lack of Touch Is Destroying Men
Mark Green · 4,762 views today · Why Men Need More Platonic Touch in their Lives
Globalization Makes No Sense
Chris Agnos · 4,448 views today · When I lived in San Francisco, I often would marvel at the movement of goods through the ports across the bay in Oakland. Full container ships would enter the bay one after...
Proof of Evolution That You Can Find on Your Body
4 min · 3,120 views today · Vestigial structures are evolution's leftovers — body parts that, through inheritance, have outlived the context in which they arose. Some of the most delightful reminders of...
Those That Did Not Seek Revenge
Dr. Ann Russo · 2,005 views today · Dr. Ann Russo on violence, healing, and transforming justice.
DAPL Opponents Vow to 'Rise' From Ashes of Oceti Sakowin and Keep Fighting
Lauren McCauley · 1,917 views today · 'They cannot extinguish the fire that Standing Rock started,' Dallas Goldtooth declared
Immigrants For Sale (2015)
33 min · 1,111 views today · The detention of migrants has become a multi-billion dollar industry in which immigrants are sold to the highest bidder and traded like mere products. The Corrections...
Stunning Small Homes Form Part of a Communal Compound for Best Friends
Lighter Side · 1,000 views today · If you’re lucky enough to have longtime friends even as an adult, then you know probably already know how much it means to be able to spend time together. Maybe you even have a...
The Foiled Bomb Plot in Kansas That Didn't Make Trump's Terror List
5 min · 924 views today · When a plot by a pro-white militia to bomb a Somali mosque in Kansas was foiled by the FBI last October, the aborted conspiracy received little national coverage - nor did it...
Without Saying a Word This 6 Minute Clip From Samsara Will Make You Speechless
6 min · 882 views today · Can you put this video into words? It's a clip from the phenomenal documentary Samsara, directed by Ron Fricke, who also made Baraka.  If you're interested in watching...
Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (The Real Reason For The Forty-Hour Workweek)
David Cain · 839 views today · Well I’m in the working world again. I’ve found myself a well-paying gig in the engineering industry, and life finally feels like it’s returning to normal after my nine months...
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 835 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
A Hauntingly Beautiful Short Film About Life and Death
5 min · 830 views today · The Life of Death is a touching handdrawn animation about the day Death fell in love with Life.
Compassion, the Antidote
Martin Doblmeier · 799 views today · Thich Nhat Hanh has published nearly 100 books and is one of the best-known teachers of Zen Buddhism in the world today. In the early 1960s his practice of what he termed...
Where the Term "Redneck" Came From
15 min · 740 views today · If you don't know this story, you'll never look at the word the same again.  This is just a window into the sometimes shocking, subversive and untold history of the United...
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 668 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
How Wolves Change Rivers
4 min · 633 views today · When wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in the United States after being absent nearly 70 years, the most remarkable "trophic cascade" occurred. What is a...
Touch Isolation: How Homophobia Has Robbed All Men Of Touch
Mark Greene · 461 views today · Homophobic prohibitions against male touch are hurting straight men as well.
10 Words Every Girl Should Learn
Soraya Chemaly · 446 views today · "Stop interrupting me."  "I just said that." "No explanation needed." In fifth grade, I won the school courtesy prize. In other words, I won an award for being polite. My...
Michael Moore Wants to Help You Find Your Next Anti-Trump Protest
Sarah Ruiz-Grossman · 368 views today · The Resistance Calendar lists upcoming rallies across the country.
The Most Astounding Fact about the Universe
3 min · 315 views today · This is Neil Degrasse Tyson's response when asked to describe the most astounding fact about the universe. Background music is the cinematic orchestra - To build a home.
Load More
What's Next
Like us on Facebook?
Why We Need a New Social settlement