Social policy can be described as the policies that governments put in place for welfare and social protection. Social policies are set out to meet human needs and human welfare. Social problems such as binge drinking, housing, drug abuse and unemployment all have different policies aimed at tackling each areas needs. This essay will cover some of the ways social policy is seen to address one of these social problems.
Unemployment is an often talked about concern in the U.K. Although The Office of National Statistics showed a rise in the number of employed people in June – August 2013 (Labour market statistics,2013) the issue is still a very rife problem in some areas across the UK. The statistical summaries of The Department of Work and Pensions (2013) show that there were still 5.7million people of working age claiming benefits in February 2013. Unemployment is a big social problem because it effect's society as a whole. The greater number of people unemployed the greater the detrimental effect it has on the economy and prosperity for all is stifled. Paid employment is not only millions of peoples major- or sole- source of income but the basis of their self esteem. Those without work are more likely to experience ill health and poverty. (Alcock, P, et al, 2012).
One of the schemes run by the government to tackle unemployment is called 'The Work Programme'. This scheme provides personalised support for long term benefit claimants who require extra help looking for and staying in employment. (RT Hon Iain Duncan Smith MP, 2013). The work programme has been in place since the summer of 2011 and is central to the Coalition governments plans to reform welfare and increase employment.
Although schemes like this are considered to be a step in the right direction to tackle the problem, long term youth unemployment has doubled since the 2010 comprehensive spending review. The current scale of youth unemployment will no doubt impose a substantial penalty on the economy by reducing the future economic potential of young people. (RT Hon Stephen Timms MP, 2012).
The Department of Work and Pensions have stated that the number of people that have been helped into long term employment by the work programme has risen by 37,000 in the past 3 months. While one could look at figures and statistics and assume only positive factors regarding the ideas surrounding the programme, the scheme has recently been highly criticised for missing every single target the government set for getting people into jobs. (Claire Carter, 2013). Non compliance with schemes like these would ultimately result in a loss of benefit payments.
A highly publicised case was brought to the media's attention in 2011 when a graduate from Birmingham University, Miss Reilly (23) had her human rights claim thrown out by the high court after stating the mandatory work she was made to undergo as part of her Unemployment benefit allowance claim was 'slave labour'.
Miss Reilly had been told she must undergo six weeks of unpaid training or she would risk loosing her Job seekers allowance. Miss Reilly was required to stack shelves and sweep floors for five hours a day, five days a week with no guarantee of securing a permanent job at the end of it. (Bbc.co.uk, 2011). The Department of Work and Pensions defended this claim by stating that these programmes play a crucial role in providing job seekers the experience they require to find work. (Louisa Peacock, 2013)
There is no doubt that youth unemployment is a cause for concern but older worker's often face severe frustration when trying to gain work as well. Ageism and discrimination against older worker's can play a huge factor in some employers decision to discount the value of worker's in this age group. As a result of this there has been a big growth in early retirement and many worker's under retirement