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The welfare state is not in crisis, but thanks to changing public attitudes it does require flexible and imaginative reform. Julian Le Grand considers plans to attract private finance into public welfare and says that "matching" private contributions with state funds is the most promising model

By Julian Le Grand   July 1996

So many crises of the welfare state have been declared over the past 20 years that many of us have become immune to the rhetoric. When a newspaper headline recently declared the end of the welfare state; when an old campaigner like Frank Field describes the welfare state as “broken-backed;” or when Robert Skidelsky, in January’s Prospect, argues that welfare costs are “out of control” and must be detached from public funding-it is tempting to recall that we have been here before, many times.

But it would be wrong to dismiss the current brouhaha as just another round in the…

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