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European Social Models From Crisis to CrisisEmployment and Inequality in the Era of Monetary Integration$
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Jon Erik Dølvik and Andrew Martin

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780198717966

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198717966.001.0001

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The United Kingdom’s Social Model

The United Kingdom’s Social Model

From Labour’s New Deal to the Economic Crisis and the Coalition1

(p.144) 5 The United Kingdom’s Social Model
European Social Models From Crisis to Crisis

Ken Mayhew

Mark Wickham-Jones

Oxford University Press

This chapter details the development of the social model in the UK. The chapter discusses, firstly, how New Labour shaped the model and labor market developments before the onset of economic crisis in 2008–09; and, secondly, how the resultant configuration of institutions and policies influenced the trajectory taken by the downturn and the successive responses to it initiated by Labour and, after the 2010 election, by the Conservative–Liberal Democrat Coalition. The chapter argues that Labour’s pre-2008 approach combined neo-liberal elements (especially the “light touch” on financial regulation) with a strong commitment to welfare provision. This heightened the vulnerability of the UK to the economic shock which indicated severe weaknesses with Labour’s economic model. Since 2010, the Coalition has intensified the scope and speed of retrenchment eventually introduced by Labour in response to the crisis: the specific configuration of the social model, however, continues to influence the new administration’s program.

Keywords:   UK, New Labour, social model, economic model, economic crisis, the Coalition

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