The European Social Model in Crisis

The European Social Model in Crisis

Is Europe Losing Its Soul?

Edited by Daniel Vaughan-Whitehead

This is the first book to provide a comprehensive and systematic assessment of the impact of the crisis and austerity policies on all elements of the European Social Model. This book assesses the situation in each individual EU member state on the basis of detailed empirical evidence and concrete case studies.

Chapter 11: Britain’s social model: Rapid descent from ‘liberal collectivism’ to a ‘market society’

Damian Grimshaw

Subjects: economics and finance, labour economics, politics and public policy, european politics and policy, social policy and sociology, labour policy


In common with other high-income countries, Britain’s social model – comprising welfare policy, employment policy and policies for civil society – faces the contradictory pressures of austerity, globalization and changing socio-economic needs. International financial markets penalize deficit-financed government spending, but they also punish low economic growth, as evidenced by the United Kingdom’s (UK’s) loss of its AAA rating in early 2013. Changing demography means increased welfare services for an ageing population, but from a tax base reduced by a smaller working-age population. Also, the economic pressures of global competition demand investment in education and training and effective labour market institutions, but clash with a resurgent neoliberal agenda to promote economic growth through pro-capital, deregulatory state intervention.

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