Social Policy Review - Vol. 14

Social Policy Review - Vol. 14

Social Policy Review - Vol. 14

Social Policy Review - Vol. 14


Social Policy Review 14 continues the tradition of providing a different style and approach to policy issues from that found in most academic journals and books. Chapters have been purposely chosen to review a varied and interesting selection of social policy developments in Britain and internationally, and to set current policy developments in a broader context of key trends and debates.


Robert Sykes, Catherine Bochel and Nick Ellison

Uk developments

As Social Policy Review 13 went to press, the 2001 General Election had just been called, with Labour promising improvements in public services, including increases in the numbers of doctors, nurses and teachers, as a major part of its proposal for a second term. the editors’ comments in this section at that time (Sykes et al, 2001) suggested that a re-elected New Labour government might need to be kept under pressure to deliver on all of its promises in the social policy field.

It is certainly the case that there has been pressure: excepting the attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York on 11 September and its aftermath, the debate over the future of public services has arguably been the dominant feature of the uk policy arena over the past year. in June 2001, as Labour romped home to a second landslide, there were fewer victory celebrations than had been the case in 1997. the government’s approach was much about getting on with the tasks in hand, and prominent among these has been the condition and the future of public services, including the nhs, education and public transport. the nhs has remained in the headlines with a number of negative high profile cases being played out in the media. These included the occasion when Tony Blair and Iain Duncan-Smith became embroiled in a bitter row over a north London hospital’s alleged neglect of a 94-year-old woman and the continued debate over waiting lists. in many instances the level of resourcing was an underlying theme of these concerns. At the same time, albeit with different causes, the government continued to struggle to allay growing public fears over the three-in-one injections against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) and there was evidence that take-up of the mmr vaccine was falling below target levels in some areas.

Public transport has also remained a thorn in the government’s side for . . .

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