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Public and Parliamentary Attitudes to Welfare

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One of the core functions of parliament in the United Kingdom is arguably to represent the views of the people. While opinions differ as to the precise nature of this representation, one would expect to find a broad measure of comparability between public opinion and the opinions of those representing the public in parliament. This article examines the extent to which shifts in political attitudes towards the welfare state have been reflected in public opinion, particularly since the election of New Labour in 1997. Using data derived from a series of interviews with MPs from all sides of the House of Commons, and information on public attitudes to welfare collated from the British Social Attitudes survey, it seeks to identify and explain areas of disagreement and consensus in public and parliamentary attitudes to welfare. It focuses in particular on questions regarding commitment to state welfare provision, priorities in welfare spending and attitudes towards funding for welfare services.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2007-06-01

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