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Social investment and the future of the welfare state

  • Date(s)
    4 June 2015
  • Time
  • Location
    Broadway House, Tothill Street, Westminster, SW1H 9NQ
Social investment and the future of the welfare state
Governments have to address the growing social risks unleashed by the financial and economic crisis. There has been a sharp overall spike in inequality across Europe and most countries have registered rising poverty and social exclusion. These trends and developments were already in train long before the crisis hit. The diffusion of radically-new technologies, processes of economic and cultural globalisation, and a post-industrial shift toward employment in services have all impacted on the traditional social programmes of the welfare state and their capacity to reduce inequalities and provide economic security and opportunity.

This event will bring together international politicians, practitioners and experts to debate how to tackle ‘new’ and ‘old’ social risks in the post-crisis environment and provide new routes to social justice and sustainable long-term growth.

The sessions will focus on the analysis of factors accentuating social risks in post-crisis societies and innovative policies that alleviate social exclusion.  

Questions to address:

•    How can governments shape welfare states to help prepare people for the 21st century global economy? How to tackle ‘new’ and ‘old’ social risks in the post-crisis environment and provide new routes to social justice and sustainable long-term growth?

•    What are the key elements of such interventions and what can be learned from international best practice?

•    How can policymakers challenge the intergenerational bias of welfare states (many systems spend three times as much on the retired as they do on families with children)?

•    How can advocates for new social programmes assemble support for them from a more fragmented electorate, cross-cut by cleavages rooted in social values, new skills sets and fears about globalisation?


Social investment and the future of the welfare state
Colin Crouch, professor emeritus, University of Warwick, UK, fellow of the British Academy and external scientific member at Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, Cologne, Germany

Preventative social policy in action – North Rhine Westphalia*
Hannelore Kraft, minister president of North-Rhine Westphalia and SPD vice president

Tristram Hunt
, shadow secretary of state for education, UK

Preventative social policy in action – Lessons from the Nordics and Nordic model 2030**

Lisbeth Pedersen, research director, The Danish National Centre for Social Research

Conclusions: Social investment in the UK
Patrick Diamond,
vice chair and research director of Policy Network

*Under Hannelore Kraft’s leadership, the State of North Rhine-Westphalia has implemented preventative socio-economic policies that aim to support entire childhood development – from birth to the beginning of employment. The results of the programme in the participating 18 communities are substantial; social costs have dropped considerably and improvements have been made across a number of key socio-economic indicators since its introduction in 2010.

**NordMod 2030 is a Nordic research project analysing developments of the past 25 years and identifying the challenges that the Nordic countries will face in the years through 2030.

Social investment. The defining feature of such policies is their emphasis on improving the skills of the workforce, broadly construed to encompass people’s capacities to contribute to society as well as the economy.  These programs often do involve the expenditure of public resources and may target the least advantaged; but, unlike traditional redistributive policies, they are designed to enhance the productive capacities of the nation rather than only to relieve poverty. 

Partner: Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung

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