Conservatism Approach to Welfare


This assignment focuses on conservatisms ideological approaches towards welfare; it appraises and critically discuss theoretical concepts within social policy in the UK. According to Sealey (2016), Ideology is a system of ideals, normative values and believes that have been put in place to form the basis of policy, political or economic theory in a country. Welfare in this context is defined as government’s way of supporting people in society for example, paying for health care, social security benefits, social housing, disability benefits and other supported mechanism (Bochel & Powell, 2018). This essay does not only evaluate the conservative ideology but also provide an in-depth analysis of the Welfare Reform Act, 2012 and how this particular ideology informed the implementation of these reforms.


The principles of conservatism

Conservatism adheres to continuity, custom and convection. This an old tradition that accommodates people in a peaceful environment; those who destroy the environment compromises more than they desire or know. It is by the means of convection that people contrive to circumvent themselves from perpetual abuse about duties and rights (Fermia, 2015). Continuity is a way of connecting one generation to the other, it is equally important as society is to an individual. Conservatism is a victor of convection, continuity and customs. Conservatives believes justice, order and freedom are the fruits of the long social experience, the outcome of trial, sacrifice and reflection (Sealey, 2016).

The principal of prescription (2). Conservatives reciprocate the feelings of modern people. They know and understand that modern people are downtrodden in the shoulders of the giants. Therefore conservatism often stresses the essence of prescription; things set up through the immemorial application so that the mind of a person does not reason on the contrary (Chong & Ng, 2017). Conservatives pose the argument that the moderns are unlikely to come up with brave new findings in taste or politics or morals. It is dangerous to measure every passing issue in the context of private rationality and judgment. The principle of variety (3). Conservatism reciprocates devotion for the proliferating complexity of long set up models of life and social institutions, as differentiated from the deadening egalitarianism and narrow uniformity of the radical systems (Smith & Jones, 2015). In any civilization, there must survive classes and orders, different sorts of inequality and material condition differences, if a healthy diversity is preserved. The only logical and acceptable forms of equality are the equality observed before a just court of law and the equality demonstrated at the Last Judgment. The society needs capable and honest leadership that will fight for the creation of new reforms of inequality (Prabhkar, 2019).

The principle of imperfectability (4)The nature of humans is bound to suffer certain adverse faults, The fact that man is imperfect, no given perfect social order can be established (Campbell & Childs, 2015). Due to the continuous relentlessness of a man, humans would become rebellious under any domination of utopian and would resolve one more time to violent discontent, otherwise, expire of boredom. Seeking for utopia is a way of ending disaster. According to conservatives, human beings don't comprise perfect things. All that is rationally expected is a tolerably just, free and ordered society, not to forget that some form of sufferings, misjudgments and evils will continue to lurk (Hayton, 2015).

Forms of conservatism

Conservatism has a large number of different forms, however, this paper narrowed its findings to the ones considered important and widely applied in the UK.

Liberal conservatism: This conservatism integrates minimal government intervention classical liberal thoughts and views in the economy. People should be at liberty to participate and contribute to the market while making and generating wealth without the interference of the government. It should, however, be noted that persons cannot be entirely depended on to always act responsibly in all spheres of life. Liberal conservative believes that a powerful state is there to champion for law and order (McEnhill & Taylor-Gooby, 2018). Social institutions are required to advocate for responsibility and a sense of duty to the nation.

Traditional and National conservatism: National conservatism is greatly grounded towards social stability and the traditional family. As such, economic conservatives can be distinguished from national conservatives (Mitton, 2016). Fiscal conservatives and deregulation are the main priorities for whom policies of the free market economy. Traditional conservatism is stress on the natural law principle, organic unit and hierarchy, high culture and classism, transcended moral order and loyalty intersecting spheres. Many conservatives in the UK defend the monarchical political structure as the ideal and natural way of gaining from social arrangements (Hothersall, 2016).

Paternalistic conservatism: This conservatism reflects the belief of a given society. Notably, it develops organically that people in society have an obligation towards each other. An emphasis is put on the paternalistic obligation of the individuals who wealthy and privileged to the poorer areas of the society (Bochel & Powell, 2016). The fact that it is consistent with the duty, organicism and hierarchy principles, it can be denoted as a traditional conservatism outgrowth. Paternalistic conservatism does not support the state or individual in principle but rather supports a practical aspect of either or suggest a balance between the two in regard to the reasonable and the practical aspect presented. This form of conservatism first arose in the United Kingdom under the leadership of Benjamin Disraeli (Smith & Jones, 2015).

Conservatism Believe society should not rely on the state to take care of them, people in society should work and take care of themselves or reply on their own families to look after them. One such idea related to the Welfare Reform Act, 2012. Within this act the coalition government (of which the conservatives were the dominant party) brought in the spare room subsidy, two children policy and universal credit. (Bulter, siddque, 2016).

The two-child policy was introduced (April 2017).It implied a family will only be paid from the state for 2 children. If a family decided to have more than 2 children, they will have to pay for the rest of their children on their own (Sealey, 2016). This method was put into place because of working family’s money which failed to rise when they would decide to have more child but when family’s on benefits would have more children their benefits would go up and conservative found this unfair towards working families.

The aim of the spare room subsidy was to alleviate and resolve the problem of overcrowding by freeing up accommodation and to give family’s the right to live in a spacious house (Sulluvan, 2018). Additionally, an incentive was to cut the housing benefits bills.

Conservatives saw this as a way to curb the crisis of overcrowding in the UK (Smith & Jones, 2015). The welfare reform act 2012, the government made a changed to bedroom tax and reduce people benefits by 14 % if they had a spare room which was not being used or 25% if they had two or more rooms that were not being occupied the government states that children under the age of 16 of the same gender can share the same bedroom and a boy and girl can share the same room till the age of 10 (Campbell & Childs, 2015). But bringing in the bedroom tax policy as affected certain tenants to be losing between £14 to £25 a week which as caused many families to relocate to smaller homes or become homeless due to reduced benefits. By introducing the bedroom tax it was to achieve freeing up overcrowded accommodation and to cut the housing benefits bills and give family’s the right size house. Implementation of this method has however made it so much harder for the vulnerable individuals. Sealay (2016), says the bedroom tax is unfair to the vulnerable who live in the hardest society. A year ago a study found the shocking impact on the health of people struggling through the bedroom tax such as hunger, stress, anxiety, depression, mental health and poverty to people’s lives as this has increased since the introduction of bedroom tax according to the university of Newcastle (Bochell & Powell, 2016).

Conservative brought in Universal credit in 2010, this means all the beneficiaries receive separate benefits such as housing benefit, income support, child benefit, child tax credit among others. This will be brought altogether as one monthly payment. The government see this method as a good idea to help the working class on a low wage and for people to become more reasonable (Mitton, 2016). As this seems to be a good idea, universal credit as made it hard for so many families in a way that they are struggling to live, meaning more and more people are living in poverty and turning to food banks for help (Bochell & Powell, 2016).


As evident above the prescription of conservative is based on experience rather than logics to them practical and ideal are inseparable. All credits go to the government of UK especially to the leader of the conservative who has placed their interest aside to champion for better conservatives reforms and policies that continue to transform the welfare system of the nation, to a greater interdependency and personal responsibility. These reforms will elevate the support available for the welfare and engender support for the welfare system of the nation. However, these reforms should be revised as some continue to suppress the common man instead of bringing gains and benefits.

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