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アメリカの深刻な財政危機 [Social Policy]

日本でもいわゆる特例公債法案が成立しないと,政府は予算執行の余地を失う恐れがありますが,アメリカのDebt ceiling も深刻で,現在の$14.29 trillion debt ceiling が8月2日までに引き上げられないと,アメリカ政府は破産し,連邦政府は事実上「機能停止」に追い込まれるのです.

アメリカは建国記念日7月4日で事実上議会は夏休みに入ることが慣例化していますが,Obama はそれでは困るわけで,連邦政府破産を回避する話し合いをなお続けようと,6月29日に異例の記者会見を開いて両党に呼びかけていました.

とりわけ共和党を非難していましたが,共和党はceiling の引き上げ前に政府支出の大幅削減を求めており,Obama が提案する歳入増加策,富裕階層への所得税率引き上げは,アメリカ資本の海外流出につながり,アメリカの雇用喪失につながるとして妥協の余地なしという対立状態が続いているのです.

本当に議員たちが夏休みに入ってしまうと,あっという間に8月2日になり,連邦政府はシャットダウンの危機に直面します.

日本も「社会保障と税の一体改革」は,どうせ次の総理がどうするか分からないわけですから,こちらは夏休みにした方がよいのではないでしょうか.


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UK: 国会審議中のUniversal Credit 説明演説 [Social Policy]

Minister for Welfare Reform Lord Freud が  the Chartered Institute of Housing's annual conference に招かれて行ったkey note adddress が全文紹介されていました.未だ改革法案は国会審議中ですが,Welfare Reform 担当大臣が一般人にも分かりやすく改革内容を説明していましたのでご紹介します.

改革の必要性ですが,第1に,なによりもwelfare spending の増大にあり,第2に,それが受給者と非受給者の間に不公正をもたらしている点,第3に,システムが必ずしもwork & self-dependencyを高めていない,ことにあります.                                  I have been struck time and time again by the sheer scale of the welfare system and the fine balance that needs to be struck between supporting people in a way that is fair and affordable and yet which still encourages work and self-dependency. Achieving that balance should be, I believe, a priority for all of us here.

次に福祉予算の増大を論じている部分は,お読みいただくとして,改革目標とかかわって,      A situation has developed whereby generations of the same family have never worked, people exist outside the normal day to day of working life and poverty deepens – both in financial terms but also in hopes and expectations.
That’s what is really at the heart of this issue; the black hole of welfare spending was bad enough. But the real problem is the lost human potential.と問題の核心を説いています.

そこで改革原理として,                                                we were all guided by the same three principles:

Fairness – the new system has to be fair to both benefit recipients and to taxpayers. 
Affordability – in difficult fiscal times we have to keep an eye on our budget, but more than that, the previous Government proved that throwing money at this problem won’t fix it. We have to spend smarter and ensure the investment we make creates a real change for the unemployed and inactive.
Finally ending benefit dependency – this is not just about the soaring benefits bill, it’s about people, families, children. Everybody deserves a decent chance at improving their lot. Welfare reform is about empowering people to make a change for themselves.

日本では,これほど率直にSocial Policy の原理,原則が語られたことはほとんどないのではないでしょうか.                                                         わが国では,憲法の「生存権」はまだしも,さらには「幸福追求権」までが援用された議論がまかり通ってきた poverty business の現状を,まず反省すべきではないでしょうか.

あとはご自由にご渉猟下さい.


Lord Freud: The future of housing benefit under Universal Credit

Published by Jon Land for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Bill Payments
Monday 27th June 2011 - 2:10pm

Minister for Welfare Reform Lord Freud gave a key note address to housing professionals on the future of housing benefit payments under the new Universal Credit system during the Chartered Institute of Housing's annual conference in Harrogate last week.

Here is the full text of his speech:

ARGUMENT FOR REFORM

Over the past four years I have been struck time and time again by the sheer scale of the welfare system and the fine balance that needs to be struck between supporting people in a way that is fair and affordable and yet which still encourages work and self-dependency. Achieving that balance should be, I believe, a priority for all of us here.

The numbers are huge. In 2009-10 the Government spent £192 billion on welfare and pension payments, compared to £35 billion on defence, £50 billion on education and £98 billion on health.

Housing Benefit is a significant part of this expenditure. Over the last 10 years Housing Benefit has roughly doubled in cash terms from £11billion to nearly £22billion [from 1999-2000 to 2010-11]. Without reform it is forecast to reach nearly £25billion by 2014-15.

The number of people involved is also very large. There are currently 5 million people claiming out of work benefits and of those over 1 million have spent the last ten years on benefits.

New analysis into Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants has revealed that many people cycle through the system several times. So, over 190,000 jobseekers have been claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance for three out of the past five years.

Behind these numbers there is a story of individual lives perhaps unfulfilled because that person is trapped in a benefit system that:
o Discourages them from working,
o Discourages them from taking responsibility for themselves,
o Discourages them from breaking the cycle of poverty that blights so many of our poorest areas.

Public investment in tackling poverty must be about more than a straight income transfer. Welfare spending under the previous Government was out of control. Yet despite this – and despite a booming economy - the numbers on inactive benefits remained broadly static.

A situation has developed whereby generations of the same family have never worked, people exist outside the normal day to day of working life and poverty deepens – both in financial terms but also in hopes and expectations.

That’s what is really at the heart of this issue; the black hole of welfare spending was bad enough. But the real problem is the lost human potential.

Lives blighted by poverty, poor educational achievement, addiction, debt, family breakdown and unemployment.
And for all of the initiatives launched by the previous Government the gap between rich and poor has widened and social mobility remains at a shamefully low level.

The really galling thing about this is that it is the very system intended to provide support that has created this situation.

As it stands the benefits system is costly, ferociously complex, and rife with disincentives to work. This is unfair to those claiming benefits and even more unfair to the taxpayers who have to fund the system.

Housing Benefit is a case in point. In some situations the State was supporting people to live in homes with such high rents that they had no realistic chance of earning enough to cover the rent independently and to
escape benefit dependency. And in many cases those homes were more desirable than those afforded by low income non benefit claimants.

The same applies more generally. As a result of the way the system is structured too many people find that they are better off unemployed than in work. For them, regardless of how well we could support them back to work, it would be completely irrational to take a job.

GOVERNMENT KEEN TO GET STARTED

Faced with this rather bleak outlook the new DWP Ministerial team and I were keen to get started on reform.
And we have not wasted any time, the Welfare Reform Bill has now been considered by the House of Commons and received its first reading in the House of Lords just last week.

The revolutionary new Work Programme, which will provide tailored back to work support for the unemployed, was launched the week before that.

PRINCIPLES OF WELFARE REFORM

We’ve moved quickly.

And we were able to do so because we were all guided by the same three principles:

Fairness – the new system has to be fair to both benefit recipients and to taxpayers

Affordability – in difficult fiscal times we have to keep an eye on our budget, but more than that, the previous Government proved that throwing money at this problem won’t fix it. We have to spend smarter and ensure the investment we make creates a real change for the unemployed and inactive.

Finally ending benefit dependency – this is not just about the soaring benefits bill, it’s about people, families, children. Everybody deserves a decent chance at improving their lot. Welfare reform is about empowering people to make a change for themselves.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN IN PRACTICE?

So, what does this mean in practice? Well we’ve launched a two-pronged attack; a total overhaul of the benefits and tax credits system and an effective, personalised back to work programme.
I’d like to talk a bit about both.

Firstly, reforming the benefits system.

Consecutive governments have grappled with the benefits system, often adding layer upon layer of complexity in their attempts to make improvements.

I’m sure many of you here today have struggled at times to explain the array of different benefits – and the way they interact – whether you’re a Housing Association trying to support your tenants or a Local Authority helping the people in your area. No one could claim it’s straightforward.

We have needed to rethink this system from the ground up. Our plans will simplify the benefits system, creating a single income replacement benefit for working age adults – the Universal Credit.

Universal Credit will replace income based Jobseeker’s Allowance and Employment and support Allowance, as well as Housing Benefit, Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit.

Plus rationale for those that remain outside DLA, contributory benefits, child benefits, pension credit and carers allowance.

At the heart of Universal Credit is the simple goal that work should always pay.

The key features of Universal Credit are:

It is simple to understand and access.

By bringing together both in and out of work benefits people will continue to receive the right level of support when they move into work, without the risk of losing one award and having to apply for another.

Withdrawing support gradually at a single rate means that many people will be able to work more hours and keep more of their pay, ensuring work pays, even for those at the bottom end of the pay scale looking to take on extra hours or a modestly paid job.

Universal Credit is there to support people when they need a safety net - but in return claimants will be expected to take their responsibilities seriously. And because the system is simple to use there will be no excuse for cheating.

The real time link between earnings and benefits information provides immediacy for people. Benefit support comes when it’s needed. Earnings from work boost income straightaway. People immediately start to see the difference to their income when they do work.

By basing support on financial need, not crude measures of employment status, we remove barriers to work.

Under the old system some people on Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit could lose as much as 96 pence for every extra pound they earned.

Universal Credit reduces this to around 76 pence for modest earners and 65 pence for low earners improving the work incentives of 700,000 people. It is also designed to encourage people into the world of work by leaving benefit levels untouched at very low earning levels.

The broader impacts of introducing Universal Credit make the argument for reform even more compelling.

Around 2.7 million households will have higher entitlements – for over 1 million this will amount to more than £25 a week.

We anticipate more people will take up benefits once the system is simplified, potentially lifting 600,000 adults and 350,000 children out of poverty.

And the combined effects of welfare reform could lead to 300,000 fewer workless households.

We are currently designing and building Universal Credit.

It is structured around the claimant’s end to end experience, not just through the benefit system but into sustainable work. We’re working with claimants to test the new system as we go.

We are making good progress and have already completed the first stage of detailed design. Delivery is running on time and on budget.

We expect the first new claims for Universal Credit to start in October 2013 with all existing customers moved to the new system by 2017.

Alongside this radical welfare overhaul we are revolutionising employment support with the launch of the Work Programme.

And it truly is a revolution.

Contractors are paid almost entirely on results and success is measured over a long period – up to two years for those who are hardest to help.

The payment structure recognises that some people need more support and payments are higher for the harder to help groups. Some of the savings from the benefits bill will go towards paying for the success of providers.

This varied payment structure combined with longer contracts has encouraged the private and voluntary sector to invest up to £580m in the first year.

We’re also trusting the professionals – the so-called black box approach. We want organisations to be free to do what they know works and so beyond a few basic requirements we will not dictate how this support should be delivered.

The Work Programme will replace the failing employment support programmes of the previous administration and deliver effective back to work provision for the first time.

Together Universal Credit and the Work Programme will ensure people get the help they need to leave benefits and return to work.

HOUSING AND WELFARE REFORM

So, you may well be wondering where Housing Associations and Local Authorities are in this picture.

Well first off, there are opportunities for all kinds of organisations to get involved in the Work Programme and I know a handful of Housing Associations have already arranged to get involved in supply chains.

But returning to Universal Credit we have already made clear that an element will be added to the Universal Credit award to help meet the cost of rent and mortgage interest.

For those who rent their accommodation, this amount will be similar to the support currently provided through Housing Benefit once we take account of recent and imminent reforms.

To further simplify the system for pensioners Housing Benefit will be combined with Pension Credit.

I know many of you may be interested in what will happen to direct payments to landlords under the new system.

Welfare reform is about empowerment.

We want to ensure that the experience of Universal Credit claimants mirrors that of other low income families who are in work as far as possible – to make the move off benefits and into work as smooth as possible.

For this reason our starting position is that people should manage their own budgets, including paying rent or mortgage, in the same way as other households do in work.

However, we recognise the importance of stable rental incomes for social sector landlords.

And we said in the Welfare Reform White Paper to develop Universal Credit in a way that protects the financial position of social sector landlords and keeps a facility to pay landlords directly.

We are still working through the detail of this and will continue to work with benefit claimants and the housing sector.

Local Authorities will have an important role in the transition to Universal Credit.

Until Universal Credit is fully rolled out, Local Authorities will continue to administer Housing Benefit as well as Council Tax support.

Beyond that there may still be a role for Local Authorities in face to face delivery of Universal Credit.

In the meantime we are reforming Housing Benefit.

As I said at the start, we inherited a Housing Benefit budget which was out of control.

In some cases people were living in homes that other low income households could simply not afford. And with rents so high that they had no realistic chance of ever earning enough to escape benefit dependency.

And more generally people on Housing Benefit were paying more rent for their homes than low income households not on Housing Benefit.

By exercising tighter control over the Housing Benefit budget, we aim to moderate the upward growth in private rents.

So, we are reforming Housing Benefit to make it fairer to both those claiming benefits and the taxpayers who support them.

From April this year we changed the way Local Housing Allowance rates are set and imposed an overall weekly cap so that the highest rate is now £400 per week – still no small sum – more than £20,000 per year in total.

Measures included in the Welfare Reform Bill will also ensure that people in both the private and social sector continue to act responsibly and make choices about the size and location of their accommodation based on what they could afford if in work and not on benefits.

Our assessment is that the vast majority of Housing Benefit claimants will remain in their homes.

However, we accept there may have to be some adjustments and have made transitional support through sharply increased discretionary housing payments available to Local Authorities to help people make the necessary changes.

For the minority who will have to move, there will be support to help them find more suitable, sustainable accommodation.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR YOU

These reforms are guided by the principles of fairness, affordability and achieving an end to benefit dependency.

But Government knows it cannot do this alone.

There are real opportunities for the organisations represented here today. I know many of you are already getting involved. For example the Housing Associations I mentioned earlier who are already becoming part of the Work Programme supply chain.

As the Work Programme contracts bed in, partnership working will be a firm feature of delivery and I expect supply chains and networks will grow and evolve over the lifetime of the contracts, advancing on experience of what works and bringing in others to maximise success.

I know many of you will already be working with your tenants or the people in your local area to do more than just provide housing.

Some of the Housing Plus activities I have seen are no less impressive, no less innovative than our best bids for Work Programme provision – and provides much food for thought as we consider how to support claimants in future.

I am very conscious that the State must find a way of helping the most vulnerable families on a holistic and cost efficient basis. There is no reason why you cannot build on what you are doing to help us get to grips with this fundamental imperative - and expand your partnership working to increase the impact of the work you do even further.

We are poised and ready to deliver real change for benefit claimants. I am looking to you to help us with this social transformation.

Thanks very much.


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Per Capita GDPでみる日本の凋落 [Social Policy]

World Bank の資料から21世紀に入ってからの「日本の失われた20年」の後半部分を実証するデータ, per capita GDP(PPP)の推移表を掲載してみました.日本は,今や世界の20位前後に凋落低迷しています.

IMFの国の範囲を広げた表では,日本は実に33位に低迷しています.それでも日本は大震災を起爆剤にして世界の大国に復活すると信じられるでしょうか.「税と社会保障の一体改革」など見果てぬ夢で,まずやるべきことは,財政再建ではないでしょうか.権力欲亡者のカラ菅と与謝野には明日にでも辞めて欲しいモノです.誰がなっても今よりはましでしょう.(World Bank のDataを使用し,国名はData降順にソート,ブログの1000字以内という制約からやむなく下位を省略)

Country Name20012003200520072009 
World5,261.805,617.407,129.208,097.108,732.20..
Monaco86,970.0095,980.00133,730.00173,330.00197,590.00..
Liechtenstein68,870.0068,780.0092,720.00111,700.00136,630.00..
Norway37,530.0044,030.0062,300.0076,200.0084,640.00..
Luxembourg42,900.0042,090.0069,290.0078,770.0076,710.00..
Switzerland37,790.0042,330.0056,870.0057,030.0065,430.00..
Denmark30,640.0033,970.0048,620.0054,680.0059,060.00..
Sweden27,680.0030,690.0042,940.0048,900.0048,840.00..
Netherlands25,560.0028,800.0039,870.0046,040.0048,460.00..
Austria24,210.0026,810.0036,910.0042,190.0046,450.00..
United States35,480.0038,320.0044,620.0046,700.0046,360.00..
Finland24,790.0027,610.0038,520.0044,170.0045,940.00..
Belgium23,900.0026,350.0036,530.0041,360.0045,270.00..
Ireland23,060.0028,760.0041,990.0048,590.0044,280.00..
Australia20,250.0021,260.0030,400.0037,140.0043,770.00..
Iceland29,650.0032,100.0049,660.0058,430.0043,430.00..
France23,250.0025,280.0034,930.0038,970.0042,620.00..
Germany24,020.0025,610.0035,080.0039,460.0042,450.00..
Canada22,420.0024,650.0033,110.0040,270.0041,980.00..
United Kingdom25,860.0029,080.0038,880.0043,970.0041,370.00..
Macao SAR, China14,030.0016,780.0022,620.0035,360.0039,550.00..
Japan35,120.0033,420.0038,940.0037,770.0038,080.00..
Singapore21,500.0022,650.0028,340.0034,640.0037,220.00..
Italy20,190.0022,170.0030,550.0033,610.0035,110.00..
Spain15,070.0017,570.0025,450.0029,410.0032,120.00..
Hong Kong SAR, China25,930.0025,850.0028,150.0031,220.0031,570.00..
Cyprus13,410.0015,480.0021,490.0024,130.0030,480.00..
Greece12,410.0014,910.0021,600.0025,330.0029,040.00..
New Zealand13,410.0016,520.0024,640.0027,380.0028,810.00..
Greenland19,390.0021,060.0029,690.0034,060.0026,160.00..
Israel18,030.0017,350.0020,250.0022,610.0025,790.00..
Slovenia10,740.0012,420.0018,080.0021,530.0023,520.00..
Portugal11,690.0013,070.0017,990.0019,910.0021,910.00..
Korea, Rep.10,890.0012,680.0016,900.0021,210.0019,830.00..
Malta9,990.0011,040.0014,320.0016,670.0018,360.00..
Czech Republic5,760.007,330.0011,330.0014,380.0017,310.00..
Saudi Arabia8,480.009,400.0012,720.0015,570.0017,210.00..
Trinidad and Tobago5,920.007,900.0010,860.0015,210.0016,700.00..
Slovak Republic5,550.007,120.0010,880.0014,270.0016,130.00..
Estonia4,430.005,820.009,840.0013,210.0014,060.00..
Croatia5,100.006,360.009,680.0012,130.0013,770.00..
Hungary4,850.006,620.0010,250.0011,650.0012,980.00..
Equatorial Guinea1,610.002,140.005,210.009,710.0012,420.00..
Latvia3,550.004,440.006,810.0010,090.0012,390.00..
Poland4,670.005,470.007,270.009,800.0012,260.00..
Antigua and Barbuda8,340.008,930.0010,140.0012,610.0012,130.00..
Libya..4,670.006,290.0010,220.0012,020.00..
Lithuania3,420.004,600.007,280.009,980.0011,410.00..
St. Kitts and Nevis6,440.006,790.008,680.009,810.0010,150.00..
Venezuela, RB4,580.003,470.004,950.007,510.0010,090.00..
Chile4,600.004,330.005,920.008,140.009,470.00..
Russian Federation1,780.002,590.004,460.007,590.009,340.00..
Uruguay6,540.004,270.004,740.006,510.009,010.00..
Mexico5,580.006,570.008,080.009,400.008,960.00..
Turkey3,310.003,620.006,200.008,090.008,720.00..

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【論説】早い新政権樹立を期待する [Social Policy]

カラ菅さんの粘り腰には今更ながら呆れるばかりです.

民主党は21日夜、今国会会期の延長幅や菅直人首相の退陣時期をめぐり大筋合意した。再生エネルギー特別措置法案の成立などに意欲を燃やす首相と、早期退陣を求める執行部の対立で迷走を続けてきたが、22日の会期末を翌日に控えて土壇場で決着にこぎ着けた。首相は退陣を事実上認め、執行部は首相の要望を取り入れて歩み寄る“痛み分け”の形となった。

と報じられています.大震災の翌朝福島原発に乗り込んで怒鳴り散らし,威張り散らして,事実上原発大事故への総理責任を公にした人物が,東京電力の社長がさっさと辞めたのに自分は居座って,内閣不信任案を退陣表明という逆手をとってチャラにして,なお不信任案を提出した野党に,2011年度第2次補正予算案、公債発行特例法案,再生エネルギー特別措置法案などの成立への協力を求める厚かましさ,厚顔無恥は,まったく大したモノです.

この間の空転国会でほとんど何も実績を作れなかったカラ菅さんが,消費税率引き上げ、環太平洋連携協定(TPP)、社会保障と税の一体改革、大連立構想など歴史に名を残そうと取り組んだ政策課題で成果は何も挙がっておらず、東日本大震災や福島第1原発事故対応の失敗を背負わされる形で辞任に追い込まれるのは耐えがたい。「再生エネルギー特措法案や3次補正で実績を残したいのが本音だった。」と報じられています.

民主党内からもほとんど見放されたカラ菅さんに,いったいこれから何が出来るというのでしょう.もともと消費税率引き上げと社会保障と税の一体改革は1つのモノで,狙いは最初に唐突に打ち出して参院選で大敗を喫した消費税率引き上げにあったとすれば,社会保障改革は,カラ菅と与謝野にオモチャにされたようなものではありませんか.

震災前は原発輸出を経済成長戦略の柱に位置づけてきたカラ菅が,今頃になって.「自分の顔を見たくないのなら,再生エネルギー特措法をさっさと成立させろ」と野党に迫ったといいますから,国会審議にも自分自身が余程自信が持てないのだとしか思いようがないではありませんか.

その後の福島原発の推移にカラ菅さんは無関心を装っていますが,どう考えてもこの先10年20年とアメリカ企業,フランス企業,そして東芝,日立,三菱を含む原子力産業一族に,蟻地獄のように,高いお金を払い続けることになりそうです.他方で,静岡県は駄目でも,他県の原子力は安全だから停止原発を再稼働させようという政府方針はいったい何なのでしょう.

この夏の節電呼びかけでさえ,やはり原発が必要だという世論形成のための,政府,電力業界挙げての謀略ではないかという疑念がぬぐいきれないのですが,本当はどうなのでしょう?

TPPではありませんが,大中小の第1次,第2次産業企業の雇用者ぐるみの海外立地を大いに推進すれば(放っておけば,自ずからそうなるでしょうが),今後の日本は原子力発電も再生エネルギーもなしで,電力は十分に有り余るのではないでしょうか,

そう考えると,福島原発は,原子力産業一族のために長い時間と巨額の経費をかけていたちごっこの綱渡りで水棺づけにするのではなく,チェルノフイリ方式で,福島原発事故直後に私が書いたように,さっさと石棺づけにし,チェルノブイリと違って,周辺の放射線量の低減,除去に多大の努力を集中した方が,はるかに効果的,効率的だと思うのですがいかがでしょう.

誰がやっても変わらないならせめて政権を,二大政党制にならって,4年間安定させようという一部政治学者の無策政権安定論に与するには余りに事態は深刻です.                                                        次の新政権には,上述したような発想の転換を大いに期待するモノです.


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The Poverty Business→貧困ビジネス [Social Policy]

最近,日本でも「貧困ビジネス」という言葉がよく聞かれるようになっています.                            それは何かホームレスに近い状態に陥った人を,典型的には大阪や埼玉県に連れて行って,劣悪な住居を提供して生活保護を申請させ,その保護費の大半を巻き上げるような誰が見ても邪悪な人の仕事ぶりを指していわれているようです,

しかし,私が最初にこの言葉【The Poverty Business】に行き当たったのは,30年以上前の1978年のことです.それはJoan Higgins という イギリスのSouthampton University の女性研究者が出版した刊行物のタイトルとして使われていたのです.                                                                     しかも,それは,希にしかいない邪悪な人を指すモノではなく,キャッチフレーズ入りで貧困撲滅のためのAction Research に関わった関係者を指して厳しく批判する言葉だったのです.HigginsはPoverty Business: Britain and America のなかで,
                                                                                                                                            In America .....Over one thousand communities took part in the Community Action Program while one hundred and fifty areas were involved in the Model Cities Program. Thousand of people, poor and non-poor alike, were employed in the projects. The poverty business boomed. In Britain small-scale action research did occur in five areas under the Educational Priority Area programme and in twelve other areas which took part in the Community Development Projects. という4つのprojects の比較研究を行って,上述の書物で,結果を報告したのです.

日本でも生活保護や福祉サービスの受給者が,福祉事務所や相談所の職員に向かって,お前たちは吾々がいるからこそ仕事にありつけているのではないかと悪態をつくのを耳にしたことがありますが,考えてみれば,Higgins が面と向かってAction Researchに参画した大学研究者たちも含めて Poverty Business といったのは,わが国でいえば,高い地位に執着し続ける,最近の菅直人や与謝野馨にも当てはまる言葉ではないでしょうか.

Higgins のPoverty Business の最終章は,これらのProgrammes が「残酷な騙し」だったのではないかとして,A Cruel Hoax? と題されています.そして,social worker, social researcher をPoverty Business に位置づけて,批判的な議論を展開しています.なお,social worker に信頼性の乏しい国家試験を課している国は欧米にはみられませんが,そのお陰で日本には水膨れした多くの社会福祉系大学があり,Higgins に従えばそれらもPoverty Businessというべきでしょう.

日本の社会福祉ないしPoverty Business 関係者は,冒頭にあげた狭義の「貧困ビジネス」を他人事として批判するのではなく,私が別のブログで指摘したように,生活保護制度をごちゃまぜの最後のより所として維持してきたことの制度的問題点として,一刻も早く生活保護制度をバラバラに分解し,就労年齢者の扶助窓口はハローワークに,住宅困窮者の住宅問題窓口は地方自治体の住宅部局に,就労年齢以外の生活扶助は社会保険事務所やその支所としての現行福祉事務所(いずれも国の直轄事務とする)...などに効率的に分解することで,邪悪な「貧困ビジネス」に入り込む余地を失わせることで解消すべきです.

なお,上述の Projects は確かに失敗に終わりましたが,それらが目標に掲げたeducational priority,positive discrimination などは今日も生き残って,Head start, Sure start→ Children's centres など,貧困の世代間の再生産防止のprogrammes として存続していることを付言しておきます. 

以下,Higginsを翻訳すると著者の真意を損なうといけませんから,原文を抜粋してそのまま紹介しておきます.どうぞお付き合い下さい.

The four programmes undoubtedly failed in their intentions to 'abolish poverty within a decade' and to reduce substantially the numbers living in poverty.....To those who genuinely expected the elimination of poverty the programmes were indeed a cruel hoax.

The Poverty Business became self-renewing, swept along by its own momentum. Even if those working in the programmes had not actually campaigned for them in the first place, they soon acquired an interest in their continuation. Any attempt to reduce the size of the programmes was a threat to their jobs and their livelihood.

.... the numbers of people indirectly employed was far greater. ...the programmes were successful in having multiplier effect. These included civil servants, workers in the local projects...and professional consultants. There were particular attractions for academic researchers.... The Community Development Project, with its fifty or so research posts came as a member of one team put it, 'like manna from heaven'.

Another aspect if the anti-poverty war which should be scrutinised is a vast network of sergeants drawing generals' pay. The startling contrast of their pre anti-poverty salaries and that which they are now paid is a strong arguments that nowhere in this great land of ours is the opportunity more promising than in the office of Economic Opportunity.

Traditional academic demarcations ruled that issues of content may belong to social policy but that issues of process belonged to political science.....social research, except from the pens of a small minority, is a frail instrument of social policy and normally requires the support of powerful political interest to translate it into practice.

重ねて付言しますと,この引用の最後の Powerful Political interest に訴えて Social Policy を形成してきたところに,私が論じてやまない「福祉国家の中流階層化」が世界的に生じてきたと信ずるモノです.


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児童福祉制度としての『養子制度』確立を [Social Policy]

日本の社会福祉.社会保障は,かなり欧米の制度と違って,いわば国際標準化されていないことは,私がかねてから主張していることですが,ここでわが国に欠けている重要な制度として児童福祉制度としての『養子制度』を取り上げたいと思います.

東日本大震災で実の両親を失った少なからぬ児童で,三親等内の親族に養育されている児童を,これまで対象から除外されてきた「里親養育」と認めて,当該親族を里親と見なそうとする方針が示されています.
それはそれで一歩前進ではありますが,欧米諸国では第1次世界大戦で生み出された多くの,実親の養育を受けられない児童のために,1920年代に相次いで児童福祉制度としての『養子制度』が制度化されたことを想起したいのです.

そのことがあって,欧米では第2次世界大戦後の福祉国家体制整備にあたって,児童の社会的養育のプライオリティは,
1.児童福祉制度としてのcourt order による『養子』(実親との関係は断絶される.ここでは児童がpermanent な親子関係を持つことが重視される.里親と同様のケア費用を支払われる.),
2.里親(2年以上続けば,里親は養子への移行を請求でき,court は実親の意向を無視できる) 
3.グループホーム(主として年長児向け),  
とされ,それまで存在した数10人を超す規模の児童養護施設は,前世紀からの長い伝統を誇ったバーナード・ホームを初めとして,1970年代初頭までにほぼ消滅したということがあります.

日本の社会的養護の大半が,未だに形式だけは社会福祉法人だが実質は世襲的家族経営が大多数の一部戦前からの児童養護施設で担われているのは,いかにも時代遅れだと考えます. 
その意味で,これまでいくつかの機会を失ってきた『養子制度』を,ぜひ民法から分離して,児童福祉制度としてきちんと整備することを期待するモノです.

ご参考までに,以下に,Endland & Wales  における養子の推移を記述した記事を上げておきます.21世紀に入って行われた法改正で,内縁関係の夫婦はもとより,同性カップル,さらにはひとり親,single people, married couples and, for the first time, civil partners, same-sex couples and unmarried couples も養親として認められるようになったこと,また, The Act also introduced Special Guardianship to provide permanence for children who cannot return to their birth families, but for whom adoption is not the most suitable option. といった改正は,いかに法制度が時代に即応してきたかを現しています.日本では作りっぱなしの社会福祉法がほとんどなこととは嘆かわしい限りです.

 
Endland & Wales の人口は日本のおおよそ半分とすると,日本では2010年でおよそ10,000人の児童福祉制度としての『養子』があってしかるべきだという計算になります.

Adoptions
Adoptions decrease by over 5%

 

There were 4,655 children entered into the Adopted Children Register following court orders made in 2009. Although this was 283 less than in 2008, representing a decrease of 5.7 per cent, the 2009 figure continues a period of relative stability in adoption numbers following the 9.7 per cent fall seen between 2005 and 2006.

The proportion of children adopted who were aged four and under has been steadily increasing over the past decade. Almost 60 per cent of children adopted in 2009 were aged between one and four, compared with 39 per cent in 1999; whilst 2 per cent of children adopted in 2009 were aged under one, compared with 4 per cent in 1999. Less than a quarter (24 per cent) of children adopted in 2009 were aged between 5 and 9. This is a fall of 10 percentage points since 1999 when 34 per cent of children adopted were aged between 5 and 9. In 2009 the proportion of children adopted who were aged 10 and over decreased to 15 per cent from 17 per cent in 2008.

Eighty per cent of children entered into the Adopted Children Register following court orders made in 2009 were born outside of marriage. This compares to 79 per cent in 2008 and 66 per cent in 1999 showing the increasing proportion of adopted children born outside of marriage over the last 10 years.

Longer term trends based on the date of entry in the Adopted Children Register show that the number of adoptions in England and Wales fell rapidly during the 1970s (there were 21,495 adoptions in 1971) and continued to fall steadily over the 1980s and 1990s.

In the 1970s, there was a rapid decline in the number of children available for adoption following the introduction of legal abortion in the Abortion Act 1967 and the implementation of the Children Act 1975. This latter Act gave the court power to treat an adoption application as an application for a custodianship order if the court considered this to be in the child’s best interests.

On 30 December 2005, the Adoption and Children Act 2002 was fully implemented. It replaced the Adoption Act 1976 and modernised the legal framework for adoption in England and Wales. The Act provides for an adoption order to be made in favour of single people, married couples and, for the first time, civil partners, same-sex couples and unmarried couples. The Act also introduced Special Guardianship to provide permanence for children who cannot return to their birth families, but for whom adoption is not the most suitable option.


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