Asset-based welfare: financialization or financial inclusion?

Prabhakar, Rajiv (2013). Asset-based welfare: financialization or financial inclusion? Critical Social Policy, 33(4) pp. 658–678.




‘Asset-based welfare’ was one of the social policy innovations of the last Labour government in the UK. A recent financialization critique suggests policies such as the Child Trust Fund were aimed at creating subjects for financial markets. This paper argues that the focus on New Labour in Westminster overlooks the way that the Welsh government tried to shape asset-based welfare in different directions. This is emphasized as part of efforts to boost financial inclusion, that is the access that those on low incomes have to mainstream financial services. The Welsh government placed more weight on this alternative financial inclusion agenda by boosting progressive universalism and encouraging the delivery of assets through credit unions. Welsh efforts though were constrained by both the ideology and austerity programme imposed from the centre.

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