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The Coalition Government and Social PolicyRestructuring the Welfare State$
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Hugh Bochel and Martin Powell

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781447324560

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447324560.001.0001

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Social policy, the devolved administrations and the UK coalition government

Social policy, the devolved administrations and the UK coalition government

(p.325) Fifteen Social policy, the devolved administrations and the UK coalition government
The Coalition Government and Social Policy

Derek Birrell

Ann Marie Gray

Policy Press

This chapter examines social policy in the devolved administrations of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. It is argued that the establishment of a UK Conservative-Liberal Democratic coalition brought an incongruence to the party and ideological alignments between the UK and the devolved governments and the increased possibility of major policy divergence. It discusses Social policy and the devolved administrations in terms of the following categories of social policy development: continuation of major divergent policies introduced prior to 2010; developing new divergence post-2010; the responses of the devolved administrations to the Westminster coalition government’s austerity measures; and convergence in policy, 2010-2015. It concludes that while the coalition had strong similarities with the New Right, consideration of the social policies of the devolved governments suggests that, certainly for Wales and Scotland, a different picture emerges, with the maintenance or extension of a social democratic ethos underpinning policy making.

Keywords:   coalition government, conservative government, social policy, devolution, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales

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