Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Fighting poverty, inequality and injusticeA manifesto inspired by Peter Townsend$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Alan Walker, Adrian Sinfield, and Carol Walker

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9781847427151

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781847427151.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of
date: 13 December 2017

For universalism and against the means test

For universalism and against the means test

Chapter:
(p.132) (p.133) seven For universalism and against the means test
Source:
Fighting poverty, inequality and injustice
Author(s):

Carol Walker

Publisher:
Policy Press
DOI:10.1332/policypress/9781847427151.003.0007

This chapter sets out the reasons for Peter's impassioned arguments against means tests and in favour of universalism: a campaign which began in the 1950s, in relation to failures of the British social security system, and ended with his critique of The World Bank's promotion of selectivity in developing economies in his final book Building decent societies. It explores the reasons why means-tested benefits systems have consistently been favoured by governments despite, and sometimes because, they do not reach all those for whom they are intended. It notes that Peter criticizes means tests for creating a hierarchy and a ‘division of the population into first-class and second-class citizens’, between the ‘deserving’ and the ‘undeserving’, between different categories of claimants and between claimants and taxpayers. It thus points out, the case for universalism is based on far more than its technical superiority to means-tested benefits — has a crucial role to play in the promotion of social justice and solidarity.

Keywords:   means tests, universalism, British social security system, selectivity, Building decent societies, social justice, solidarity

University Press Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .