Coming together in a rightward direction : post-1980s changing attitudes to the British welfare state

Deeming, Christopher and Johnston, Ron (2018) Coming together in a rightward direction : post-1980s changing attitudes to the British welfare state. Quality and Quantity, 52 (1). 395–413. ISSN 0033-5177

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    Abstract

    Major changes in the British welfare state were initiated during the 1980s in response to the 1970s’ stagflation, rapid globalisation and the government’s inability to ensure full employment: the relatively unrestricted payment of unemployment benefits was replaced by a jobseekers’ allowance with applicants obliged to seek work actively and, if required, undergo training. Public support for this shift lagged behind the policy introductions, but from 1997 on there was a major change in attitudes towards welfare beneficiaries. Analysis of social attitude survey data for 1983-2011 shows this change occurred during the decade of relative prosperity under the New Labour governments. There was a growing concentration of anti-welfare attitudes across all social groups, regions and supporters of the main political parties.