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  Work And Welfare

This policy theme includes our work on inequality, poverty, employment, welfare, worklessness, pay, and skills. Our future work programme in this area will be looking at in-owrk poverty and workplace democracy, fair pay and the 'living wage', policies for full employment, and employment protection.

Project partners include:
David Coats, Lord Monks, Professor Duncan Gallie CBE FBA, John Philpott, Derek Simpson, Brendan Barber, Webb Memorial Trust, Barrow Cadbury Trust, Work Foundation, Reed Foundation.

Job Guarantee: a Right and Responsibility to Work
Rt Hon Stephen Timms MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Work, sets out his vision for a new job guarantee scheme. Stephen criticises the Coalition Government’s record on employment and welfare, describing it as a failure. He is particularly critical of the Government’s seeming inability to tackle the issue of youth unemployment. He then puts forward an alternative approach and a set of recommendations for a reformed welfare system that centre on a job guarantee for young people.


From the Poor Law to Welfare to Work: What have we learned from a century of anti-poverty policies?
The authors successfully capture the story of how anti-poverty policies have evolved over a century and highlight the strengths and weaknesses of government interventions. They also provide a useful international comparison and discuss the drivers for change and the lessons learned. However, this report is much more than a historical commentary and critical assessment of what has been achieved. The evaluation of anti-poverty policies presented in this report is also intended to inform the current debate on how we eradicate poverty and reduce inequalities, which – as the authors show – have increased during recent periods of growth. The cornerstone of the report’s analysis and its challenge to today’s policy makers is the contention that redistribution (through welfare) is essential, but can only be part of the solution to combating poverty. The evidence from more than a century of reform is that lasting reductions in poverty and inequality also demand pre-distribution policies, notably in the labour market. The report is important and timely as governments seek to rebalance the relationship between the state and markets to achieve a fairer and more prosperous society.


We Can’t Carry on Like This! Policy Solutions for the Under-pensioned: Perspectives from Key Players in the Sector
This timely publication forms part of the Smith Institute’s ongoing programme of work on policies for a fairer society. With falling real wages for many, rising levels of personal debt, an ageing population and a bleak economic outlook, the number of people who are “under-pensioned” is set to increase. The contributors to this collection highlight the scale and scope of the problem and offer a range of practical policy solutions. It is the responsibility of today’s politicians and policy makers to ensure that our pensions system is fit for purpose and can meet the demands of tomorrow’s pensioners. We hope that this report pushes the debate forward so that the necessary long-term decisions can be made with cross-party support. 


Time to Cut the Gordian Knot – The case for consensus and reform of the UK’s employment relations system
The Smith Institute wants to raise awareness and provoke debate on job quality and the world of work. This timely report on the parlous state of the UK’s employment relations system is at the heart of that conversation. It follows on from our reports on corporate social responsibility, fair pay, and employee engagement, and presents a challenge to government, employers, workers and trade unions. David Coats not only presents a clear and comprehensive critique of the employment relations regime in the UK, but offers a series of practical policy proposals.

Advancing Opportunity: The future of good work
This monograph, the last in a series under the theme of “Advancing Opportunity”, explores the future of “good work”. There has been a lack of attention given to the quality of work, despite the fact that for most people work is where they spend most of their time, and for many others it is where they derive a fair proportion of their status, their dignity, their self-esteem, their identity and their sense of personal progress. The phrase “good work” is intended to offer a broad rubric to consider how the quality of working life can be improved and performance and productivity enhanced. This collection of essays sets out how good work chimes with the most pressing issues affecting our economy and our society – including the rise of the knowledge economy, globalisation and outsourcing, the difficulties of getting people off welfare and into work, and skills – and outlines how a new politics of “good work” can be constructed. Includes chapters from Rt Hon James Purnell MP, David Coats, Professor Duncan Gallie CBE FBA, John Philpott, James Reed, Brendan Barber, and Professor JR Shackleton. 2009

Trades Unions and Globalisation
A collection of essays considering the role of Trades Unions in the global economy, looking at the role that unions can play in preparing Britain’s workers for the effects of globalisation, and how international links between unions can offer an important force for progressive change across the world. Increased competition from abroad has heralded changing industrial patterns in Britain, with consequences for workers in each sector of the UK economy. The rise of off-shoring is just one example. In a global economy, the uncertainties that accompany the free movement of labour, and the fast pace at which a competitive advantage can be created and lost, have led many countries to move in the direction of increased protectionism. However, as the Chancellor has suggested, measures that seek to reverse or halt the free movement of goods and services, capital and labour are likely to impact disproportionately on our prosperity and growth. As this collection shows, a better approach may be to seek to involve workers and employers in meeting the challenges of a rapidly changing and changeable labour market, preparing workers for the jobs of the future and seeking to develop mechanisms for people to learn new skills at every stage of their lives. Includes chapters by Ian McCartney MP, Brendan Barber, Dave Prentis, Derek Simpson, John Monks, and Ed Balls MP. 2007

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