This introductory chapter sets out the purposes and scope of the book. The period following the onset of the global financial crisis in summer 2007 was an extraordinary one in British economic and political history. First Labour then coalition governments faced a deep recession and a large hole in the public finances, alongside increasing demographic pressures on public spending. This book describes how they approached social policy in this ‘cold climate’, with topic-by-topic chapters (eg on health, housing and employment policy) as well as cross-cutting accounts on the changing nature of the welfare state, and the effects of policies on poverty, inequality and distribution
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