What Are the Key Influences on the Development of Social Policy?

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Social policy is a subject constantly analysed and argued, therefore, it has unsurprisingly changed and developed since the time it began, “the end of the nineteenth century” (Alcock, 2008a). Since then in Britain and around the world social policies have been frequently reviewed and adapted. These changes are partly due to obvious factors such as advances in industry and increases in population, however, these developments can be largely credited to three main influences, “changes in the political, ideological and economic context of British society” (McKay and Rowlingson, 2008a) and this applies to all societies. Politically, we live in a “divided society” (Alcock, 2008b) and an increasingly globalised world which has introduced fresh debates over topics such as egalitarianism, and this persuades social policy. Also, political events affect social policy; past examples include the World Wars and the elections of certain prime ministers. Ideologically, social welfare was influenced initially by the Fabian Society, established in 1884, which “challenged conservative political assumptions that economic markets could meet the welfares of all” which in turn, influenced the Royal Commission’s review of the Poor Laws, then, the establishment of the London School of Economics (LSE) (Alcock, 2008a). However, from “1970s onwards, the focus of social policy began to move beyond the narrow confines of Fabian welfare-statism” (Alcock, 2008a). Finally, the economic context of a country inevitably influences the development of its social policy. For instance, the New Left and New Right, which began to form in the 1970s, often focused on the economy when analysing state welfare and what's more, at this very moment the debate over state welfare and benefits is intense due to the current economical climate. This abovementioned “divided society” refers to the differences in class,
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