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Assessing 20 years of welfare reform in the US and the UK

Event information

START DATE 20 March 2015
START TIME 09:00am

Committee Room 3, Hendon Town Hall, The Burroughs, London NW4 4AX

END DATE 20 March 2015
END TIME 04:00pm

Almost 20 years have passed since the adoption of the Personal Responsibility Work Opportunity Act in the United States, which made work requirements a condition of receiving cash assistance. The number of individuals - mainly single parent families - receiving social assistance declined dramatically, from about 11 million in 1997 to four million in 2015. 

American policies inspired British policy makers on both sides of the political spectrum, from the New Deal for Young People (1997) to the Welfare Reform Act 2012 (stringent work requirements and increased use of benefit sanctions). Despite ongoing controversies regarding the negative impact of benefit sanctions on vulnerable claimants, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith says that the United Kingdom is a model of effective welfare policies. In the run up to the May 2015 general election, it is time to reassess the experience of welfare reform on both sides of the Atlantic, in political, economic, social and legal terms.

This one-day conference concludes a two-year ESRC research project 'Welfare reform in the US and the UK: an interdisciplinary analysis' led by Associate Professor Dr Anne Daguerre. The research shows that the erosion of social assistance rights has been a central feature of social policy reforms in both countries, a trend that has not been reversed by the presidency of Barack Obama, with the notable exception of health care.

Speakers will include:

Dr Anne Daguerre, Associate Professor in the Business School at Middlesex University

Vicki Lens, Associate Professor, Columbia University School of Social Work

Tony Wilson, Policy Director, Center for Economic and Social Inclusion

Kenneth Stephens, Supervising Attorney, Legal Aid Society

Michael Spencer, Solicitor, Child Poverty Action Group

Richard Exell, Senior Policy Officer, Trades Union Congress 

Attendance at this event is free. To register please click here.

Please note registration starts at 8.30am.

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