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Title: The Labour Party and family income support policy, 1940-1979 : an examination of the party's interpretation of the relationship between family income support and the labour market
Author: Pratt, Alan
ISNI:       0000 0004 2707 0914
Awarding Body: University of Bradford
Current Institution: University of Bradford
Date of Award: 1988
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The first two chapters examine the party's policy towards the wage-stop and the poverty trap. Until 1963 the party ignored the wage-stop but from then until 1975 a section of the party campaigned against the regulation expressing moral revulsion and concern about its administration but only rarely opposition to the principle. A Labour government removed the stop when its operation affected only a tiny minority of families. The party was quickly involved in the development of the poverty trap debate being particularly drawn to its disincentive characteristics, but Labour governments, like their Conservative counterparts, soon came to regard the idea as a mere statistical abstraction. After confirming the party's historical ambivalence about Family Allowances the thesis demonstrated that whenever it advocated allowances it did so because it believed the programme would alleviate family poverty rather than augment work incentives. However Labour governments consistently upheld the principle of substitutability, thus conferring de facto support on that less-eligibility dimension of Family Allowances which Macnicol has established informed the coalition government's decision to legislate for the programme in 1945. Despite the party's opposition to Family Income Supplement it became an important element in the Labour government's anti-poverty strategy after the Child Benefits debate in 1976. F.I.S. was criticised because of its contribution to the poverty trap and its potential for assisting in the pauperisation of the low paid, while Child Benefit was supported because it appeared to be a more equitable technique of delivering support to families with dependent children although some in the party were sensitive to the scheme's potential link with improved work incentives. In general, the Labour Party is seen to have failed to develop any coherent and sustained alternative to the ideas and programmes of its political opponents in this critical area of social policy.
Supervisor: Not given Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Labour Party ; United Kingdom, 1940-1979 ; Poverty trap ; Wage-stop ; Family Allowance ; Child Benefit ; Welfare State