Support, coercion and resistance: social policy in the age of austerity: presentations

March 20, 2017     Leave a Comment

Our highly successful PhD symposium for this year was held on 8-9 March 2017. The researchers’ presentation slides are now on our site here. The event as told on Twitter can also be seen on Storify.

Free event – Brexit: what welfare, what rights for European migrants in Britain?

March 3, 2017     Leave a Comment

Roundtable event
Wednesday 29 March, CSE/082&083 Meeting Room, Computer Science Building, University of York
11am-3.20pm
Free, booking essential

Many aspects of the UK’s exit from the European Union are unclear at this stage. But we do know that important issues of principle and practice in the legal and welfare systems are at stake. This roundtable event showcases recent research concerning EU migrants in the UK and offers the chance to help shape a practical legal rights toolkit. It invites debate on future provision to underpin EU migrants’ welfare support and access to justice.

Sessions include:

Citizenship, conditionality, and welfare chauvinism: EEA migrants in the UK – findings from the WelCond project
– Prof Peter Dwyer, University of York/Dr Lisa Scullion, University of Salford

How did we get here? Poverty and the Brexit vote
– Dave Innes, Policy and Research Manager (Economics), Joseph Rowntree Foundation

Key obstacles to social security benefits for EU nationals
– Rebecca Walker, welfare rights worker for over 20 years and lead author of the Benefits for Migrants Handbook (CPAG)

Dissecting attitudes towards EU migrants in a Brexit context
– Dr Sofia Vasilopoulou, Senior Lecturer, Dept of Politics, University of York

The EU Rights Project: developing an interactive toolkit for rights advisers
– Dr Charlotte O’Brien, York Law School

Life After Leave: A case study of the European Social Fund
– Jed Meers, York Law School

View the event flyer
Bookings and enquiries: janis.bright@york.ac.uk

Guest blog: Welfare conditionality in Ireland – evidence from longitudinal interviews

February 21, 2017     Leave a Comment

Tom Boland and Ray Griffin from Waterford Institute of Technology have conducted interviews before, during and after the roll-out of activation policies in Ireland. Their study reveals how policy works out in practice, beyond what is measurable statistically. Read their blog

Welfare conditionality in Ireland: evidence from longitudinal interviews

February 21, 2017     Leave a Comment

Tom Boland and Ray Griffin from Waterford Institute of Technology have conducted interviews before, during and after the roll-out of activation policies in Ireland. Their study reveals how policy works out in practice, beyond what is measurable statistically.

Our 2012 tranche of interviews confirmed international research on unemployment as a negative experience, leading to financial troubles, social isolation and challenges to mental well-being. Strong work-orientations and extensive job-search activity were also in evidence. Minor elements of suspicion and distrust between claimants and welfare officers were reported, particularly among younger, male and urban jobseekers. In the main the experience of unemployment was narrated as the internalisation of market failure- so typically people felt they lost their jobs because of the recession, but were they to have been better positioned, they might not have become unemployed. Read More

New event: PhD Symposium: “Support, Coercion and Resistance: Social policy in the age of austerity”

February 20, 2017     Leave a Comment

Come along to our free event on Thursday 9 March. Hear excellent presentations from four of our PhD research students and join the debate on social policy. Featuring:

Emily Ball, University of Sheffield
‘Making’ vulnerable families change their behaviour in intensive interventions

 

Larissa Povey, Sheffield Hallam University
Victims, villains, maternal outcasts: ‘problem’ women in the context of poverty, crime and intensive interventions

 

Liviu Dinu, University of Salford
Welfare Conditionality: impact on Central and East European Roma migrants in the United Kingdom

 

Regina Serpa, Heriot-Watt University
Consumerism, empowerment and resistance: understanding migrant responses to homelessness

 

10 am – 3 pm, University of York. View the full programme

email fleur.hughes@york.ac.uk to book your place.

New award to examine impact of UK benefits system on Veterans

February 17, 2017     Leave a Comment

A grant of a £171,995 has been awarded to the University of Salford, working with the University of York on a two-year project, to examine what impact interaction with the benefit system has on the transition of military personnel to civilian life, thanks to support from the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT). The project will link with our own WelCond research.

The two-year study, called Sanctions, support and Service leavers:  welfare conditionality and transitions from military to civilian life, will investigate the effect of a conditional welfare system in the UK, including the use of sanctions, and how this affects ex-Service personnel and their families. Around 17,000 men and women leave the British Armed Forces every year, and while most are able to easily move into civilian life, there are some who experience problems such as mental health issues, physical disabilities following service, drug and alcohol misuse and financial hardship. Read More

New blog: Tegenprestatie – welfare conditionality the Dutch way

February 14, 2017     Leave a Comment

WelCond Project Director Peter Dwyer was recently invited by Rotterdam City Council to speak at a national event about welfare conditionality in the Netherlands and more particularly ‘Tegenprestatie’. Roughly translated into English this refers to the ‘civic contribution’ that Dutch people are required to make when in receipt of social assistance benefits. In this new blog he reflects on a lively event that debated ideas about social inclusion and employment.

Tegenprestatie: welfare conditionality the Dutch way

February 14, 2017     Leave a Comment

WelCond Project Director Peter Dwyer reflects on a recent conference in Rotterdam that debated ideas about social inclusion and employment

I was recently invited by Rotterdam City Council to speak at a national event about welfare conditionality in the Netherlands and more particularly ‘Tegenprestatie’. Roughly translated into English this refers to the ‘civic contribution’ that Dutch people are required to make when in receipt of social assistance benefits. The conference entitled ‘De zin en onzin van de Rotterdamse Tegenprestatie: Vijf jaar Tegenprestatie’ (‘The sense and nonsense of the Rotterdam Consideration: reflecting on five years’) was a stimulating event that brought together a range of stakeholders, including jobseekers, activation coaches, policymakers, practitioners and academics featured for a series of lively presentations and debates. Read More

New blog: Gamers or victims – how can you ‘play the game’ on benefits if you don’t know the rules?

February 9, 2017     Leave a Comment

Welfare Conditionality Project researcher Dr Jenny McNeill has co-authored one of the Journal of Poverty and Social Justice’s ‘top five’ most read articles of 2016. In a new blog she summarises the main issues. In contrast to long-standing caricatures of scroungers and skivers, she argues, our research shows the real hardships faced by many claiming welfare benefits. That includes people who are stigmatised, sanctioned and struggling to get by, turning to foodbanks, to other sources of support, and to ‘survival crime’. Read the blog here

Gamers or victims: how can you ‘play the game’ on benefits if you don’t know the rules?

February 9, 2017     Leave a Comment

150JennyWelfare Conditionality Project researcher Dr Jenny McNeill has co-authored one of the Journal of Poverty and Social Justice’s ‘top five’ most read articles of 2016. Here she summarises the main issues

Media and government are fixated on the pervasiveness of so-called ‘scroungers’: people cheating the benefits system for welfare they are not entitled to, or those who do not properly take steps to end their dependency on benefits. In 2012, the then-Employment Minister Chris Grayling defended the use of benefit sanctions on the basis that they provide ‘a real deterrent for some people who are either not trying or who are gaming the system’.

Policy makers have also denied structural reasons in favour of emphasising people’s behaviours in explanations for the causes of poverty, unemployment, and social marginalisation. They have thus endorsed a need to ‘nudge’ targeted individuals to reduce welfare dependency. This heightened sense of panic over welfare abuse has in recent decades been called ‘scroungerphobia,’ but fears over the poor subverting the foundations of state or charitable support have much older roots (Rousseau, 1762).

Read More

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