Increasing employment and pushing people into work are key elements of the UK Government’s public health and welfare reform agendas. The arguments presented for this approach are primarily economic, social and particularly, moral. They are not founded on biological evidence. The government maintains that work is the most effective way to improve the wellbeing of individuals, their families and their communities. There is a perception that (long-term) unemployment is harmful to physical and mental health, so the corollary has been assumed – that work is beneficial for health.
However, that does not necessarily follow, and to claim that it does is distinctly unscientific and irrational. As the Conservatives themselves have often pointed out in less appropriate circumstances, in order to avoid democratic accountability and responsibility, there is a difference between an association and a causal relationship.
There is a clear ideological context from which the welfare “reforms” proceeded…
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