In 2008 the Social Fund had been in operation for 20 years. This has provided a timely opportunity to not only critically reflect upon its introduction in 1988 and its operation in the past two decades, but also to place it within its historical context. There is a particular need to engage with the argument that was made in the 1980s that relieving need by way of loan was new in social security policy. In this groundbreaking study, Chris Grover provides the reader with evidence that this is not the case by locating Social Fund loans in a lengthy history of debate about, and practice in, loaning poor relief and social security. Using primary data hitherto unused in social policy research, Grover shows that there is a long history embedded in British systems of poor relief of authorities having the power to loan applicants either cash that had to be repaid or providing food and items, the value of which then had to be repaid. Understanding this history will give a greater depth to our understanding of the state's purposes in relieving the financial needs of the poorest people as well as to our knowledge of contemporary social security policy.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction; Enter loans: the Act to Amend the Laws for the Relief of the Poor 1819; Loaning poor relief; Industrial conflict and poor relief on loan; The Crossman Review of loaning supplementary benefit; Loaning supplementary benefit and strikes; The Fowler Reviews, special expenses and the antecedents of the social fund; Social fund loans: consistencies and concerns; Social fund loans; Relieving need? Social fund loans in operation; Social fund loans and financial inclusion; Conclusion; Postscript; Bibliography; Indexes.
Dr Chris Grover, Lancaster University, UK
'In tracing Britain’s history of making loans part of the array of relief offered to its most economically vulnerable citizens, author Chris Grover raises a number of important practical and ethical questions for scholars of welfare policy in developed nations... This work will be mostly of use to readers who are professional students of comparative welfare policy, and historians of the welfare state and labour policy. It is conveniently organised into chapters that may be read independently; each deals with a specific aspect of the development and use of loans as a partial provision of British welfare policy... Rather than an evaluation of the effectiveness of state-sponsored loans to the poor, this work guides the reader through the question of what is behind such a policy’s formation and acceptance, and lodges each incarnation of the policy squarely within the socio-political and economic contexts in which loans became a part of British poverty policy. In so doing, readers gain an increased ability to reflect on the motivations and ethics behind poor relief strategies in complex societies while learning how loans to the poor evolved as a segment of poverty policy in the United Kingdom.' Contemporary Sociology