The ‘Disruption Decades’: what future for the welfare state?


This event, hosted by UK think tank IPPR will discuss how the welfare state will change post Covid-19.

We are living in extraordinary times. Nearly a quarter of employees are now paid via the government’s furlough scheme, with nearly two million people applying for Universal Credit since mid-March. The government is trying to encourage employees in certain sectors to go back to work, while the outlook for those in for example in the arts, hospitality and travel and tourism is unclear over the longer term. Support from the welfare state has been the only thing standing between many people and unemployment and poverty. But what will happen as individuals and employers begin to bear more of the risk? And what does this mean for the future of the welfare state with the looming challenges of workplace automation, climate change and an ageing society?

Join us for this discussion marking the launch of IPPR’s new programme Reimagining the welfare state, with topics for discussion including:

  • With a whole set of new challenges created by the Covid-19 pandemic, not least high unemployment, poorer job prospects for young people and the potential for higher rates of poverty, who and what should the welfare state be for in the months and years ahead?
  • How ‘active’ does the state need to be in the months ahead support the country through the worst recession since 1709 and on into recovery?
  • Will a new welfare settlement emerge from this crisis? And if so how might it help prepare us for emerging disruptions such as workplace automation and environmental breakdown?
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