[This is the text to accompany my presentation to open the South West Observatory seminar “Welfare reform: challenges, impacts and evidence”, 13/11/12]
Politicians are prone to hyperbole. The most minor modification to a relatively peripheral policy is portrayed as a groundbreaking initiative. However, in the case of welfare reform a hugely ambitious agenda is being pursued in the name of making work pay. Nothing like it has been attempted for decades. The challenges are therefore enormous. There is a huge amount at stake. The well-being of the most vulnerable members of society depends on its successful delivery.
We should begin by distinguishing politics from policy, although there is not such a bright dividing line between the two as is sometimes assumed. [Read more...]