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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The asylum backlog: Job done?This blog post sets out how the department must now grapple with a new set of backlog challenges.