National salary insurance: Reforming the welfare state to provide real protection

Published Thu 28 Jul 2011
This paper suggests that the government should establish National Salary Insurance, which would provide people with much higher levels of support if they lose their job but require this support to be repaid when they return to employment.

Over the last few decades, support for the welfare state has been undermined by a pincer movement of attacks. It has come to be seen both to reward people who do the wrong thing and to let down those who do the right thing. In short, it is thought to be not demanding enough of people who don't work and not protective enough of those who do.

In response, successive governments have increased conditionality for those on benefits. This has strengthened the idea of mutual obligation, while also increasing people's engagement with the world of work (improving their chances of finding a job). But these reforms have done nothing to address the concern that the welfare state does not provide real protection, when it is needed most, for people who have contributed into the system.

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