People, planet, power: towards a new social settlement

Key findings
  • Seven decades after the Beveridge report, we’re facing a host of new social and economic challenges
  • A new social settlement must deliver social justice, environmental sustainability, and a more equal distribution of power
  • This report is part of NEF’s work to build a new economics that serves the interests of people and planet

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Photo credit: © Rachel Gannon

February 17, 2015 // Written by:

Anna Coote, Associate Director, Social Policy

These are NEF’s proposals for a new social settlement – a framework for deciding how we live together, what we expect from our governments and what we want to achieve for ourselves and others. It builds on the strengths of the post-War settlement inspired by the Beveridge Plan, but moves on – because the world has changed profoundly – to offer a bold new approach to the challenges we face today.

The new social settlement has three goals: social justice, environmental sustainability, and a more equal distribution of power. All three are intertwined and must be pursued together. They tackle severe contemporary problems: widening social inequalities, accelerating threats to the natural environment, and accumulations of power by wealthy elites.

These goals lead to a set of objectives, which highlight crucial issues too often ignored in mainstream debate. Like the goals, they too are linked together and can be mutually reinforcing:

Our proposals are part of NEF’s work to build a new economics that serves the interests of people and the planet, not the other way around. We challenge the dominant view that the key to progress is to deregulate markets, promote choice and competition, and boost consumption. We offer a different set of ideas that promotes wellbeing for all within the limits of the natural environment, as well more inclusive and collaborative ways of making decisions and working together. We aim to meet today’s needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

To help realise our goals and objectives, we set out some proposals for practical change. They don’t represent a comprehensive plan, but suggest a new direction of travel and a different set of priorities ‒ our contribution to wider debates about what kind of society we want for the future.

Rebalance work and time:

Release human resources:

Strengthen social security:

Plan for a sustainable future:

Issues

Public Service Reform, Inequality, Democracy & Participation, Environment, Wellbeing, Work & Time

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