In this thought-provoking book, Paul Spicker challenges readers to rethink social security benefits in Britain. Putting a case for reform of the system, Spicker argues that most of the criticisms made of social security benefits – that spending is out of control, that it has led to mushrooming dependency, that it fails to get people into work, and that the system is riddled with fraud – are misconceived.
Addressing those misconceptions, Spicker assesses the real problems with the system, related to its size, its complexity, the expectation that benefits agencies should know everything, and the determination to ‘personalise’ benefits for millions of people. This stimulating short book is a valuable introduction to social security in Britain and the potential for its reform.
For more from the author on social security and social policy visit blog.spicker.uk.
"This book provides an incisive description of the real problems of the current system, what social security is for and considers the possibilities of some alternative systems."
Gareth Morgan, Ferret Information Systems
“Social security may be complicated but Paul Spicker’s critical overview is clearly written, appropriately trenchant and thoughtfully provocative: a good read.” John Ditch, Honorary Professor, University of York
"At last some sense about social security. Spicker is a brave and independent voice. But with deep knowledge. Listen to him." Jonathan Bradshaw, University of York
"There are few people who know more about the benefits system than Paul Spicker, and it is a pleasure to have so much of his wisdom packaged in this short and cheap paperback." – Citizen's Income Trust
Paul Spicker is Emeritus Professor of Public Policy at the Robert Gordon University and a Fellow of CROP, the International Social Science Council’s Comparative Research Programme on Poverty. His published work includes sixteen books, several shorter works and over 80 academic papers.
Understanding social security;
Misunderstanding social security;
The real problems;
How much is enough?;
Reforming key benefits;
Changing the benefits system.