Social Welfare

Page updated:

Major revision January 2004

Last amendment September 2016


SW100 The Green Party will implement policies to promote social welfare for all.

SW101 The Green Party knows that we are all interdependent and that many people need support at some stage in their lives. The basic aim is that all people should be able to lead an empowered and fulfilled life. We believe that every individual in society has an equal right to food, water, warmth and housing (see Responsibilities and Rights section).

SW102 Policies cover those areas currently addressed by social services departments - including children and families, older people, mental health, physical disabilities and learning disabilities.

SW103 To make life easier for people who need to access several types of service, the Green Party would work towards having a single budget covering health and social services.

Citizen's Income (CI)

SW200 In so far as it is possible to remedy social problems purely by financial means, the Green Party's Citizen's Income (see Economy), when implemented will enable people to have a more flexible approach to work, retirement and caring for others.

SW201 CI is designed to cover the basic needs of an able-bodied person. Since 1979 the level of benefits for the able-bodied has fallen well below this level; consequently the supplements necessary to bring payments for those with disabilities or health problems up to an adequate level are considerably larger that they will need to be in conjunction with CI when that is fully implemented. (See Econ esp. EC732)

Children and Families

SW300 All children should be treated with respect and given full opportunity with whatever support may be required to live in a caring and nurturing environment. (See RR410)

SW301 However, although families are often thought of as the ideal social institution to bring up children, many children do not live in nuclear families and sometimes a child's parents cannot or do not want to look after them.

SW302 The Green Party recognises the many challenges and stresses that parenting can bring and will support and encourage a wide range of community and self help services for children and their carers e.g. Homestart, family centres, adopt-a- grandparent schemes.

SW303 The Green party believes that services for children need to be holistic and integrated, recognising both the needs of the child and their families and carers. This may involve increased expenditure over current levels, but effectively meeting the needs of children and their families and carers will produce a healthier, more balanced and secure society, with reduced costs in criminal justice, social services and other areas of spending.

SW304 Childminders will continue to be registered and monitored, with free training, including training in nutrition, given to all. We recognise that childminders often have a low income and are seen as having a low social status. We believe that bringing up children is a very important job, and would seek to improve the standing of childminders whilst making sure that they earn a living wage for what is a demanding job, while maintaining the affordability of care.

SW305 Nurseries and children’s centres will be monitored for quality of care and the information made readily available. Special attention will be given to ratios of adult carers to children. Nursery staff will be given adequate training, including training in nutrition.

SW306 Nannies will be registered on a national register, enabling families to check the suitability of their potential employee. The treatment of au pairs will be regulated to stop them from being exploited by their employers.

SW307 Working grandparents will be given the same right to request flexi-work as parents if caring for grandchildren.

SW308 We will provide free universal early education and childcare from age 1 up to age 6 (5 while that remains the age of formal education starting), with parental participation strongly encouraged for younger children. Universal provision will be designed to give parents and carers as much flexibility as possible in terms of times and locations. The provision of occasional ‘ad hoc’ care will be encouraged and facilitated. Special attention will be paid to the needs of disabled children. This will be overseen by a cabinet-level, cross-departmental minister for childcare.

SW309 Children’s centres will engage in active outreach work to make contact with socially excluded families to ensure that their children's development is not endangered and to encourage the parents and carers to access free local activities for children.

SW310 Parents and carers in a community will be encouraged to set up networks of babysitters and playgroups. This would aid both children’s development and community cohesion.

SW311 Children with special needs will have the enhanced level of care they need, with all of their carers given up-to-date disability equality training so that they can care for the child in the way that suits him/her best.

SW312 Family courts and mediation should help to find the right solution for each child in the event of family breakdown with children being a given a say in their future.

SW313 The Green Party would broaden the criteria for fostering and adoption to include all types of relationships- single, married, co-habiting and homosexual couples. A wide range of support services will accompany any fostering arrangement, including financial help, respite care and emergency phone-line.

SW314 The Green Party would develop and implement a comprehensive national strategy for the prevention of child sexual abuse which would include, but not be limited to, the following components:

  • Funding research into the causes of child sexual abuse, and also the possible treatment of abusers. The emphasis would be on preventing those who are sexually attracted to children from abusing in the first place, as well as rehabilitating offenders who wish to change their behaviour. There would be a big increase in the funding of effective treatment programmes for offenders in prison and support for prevention focussed projects such as the Quaker-supported Circles of Support and Accountability programme.
  • Running an on-going government public education campaign encouraging discussion of what is a taboo subject and a hidden problem,  encouraging both perpetrators and victims to come forward for help.
  • Ensuring that organisations providing help to the victims of sexual abuse, such as the National Association of People Abused in Childhood , receive Government funding, meaning they will no longer need to devote much of their valuable time to chasing funding.
  • Ensuring that those coming into contact with children (such as teachers and medical staff) are effectively trained to spot the possible signs of sexual abuse and early, sensitive intervention will be encouraged as well as training on signs to look out for in adults who may be at risk of abusing.
  • Ensure children receive relationships and sex education including information about good and bad touch, good and bad secrets, knowing how to get help if something is worrying them and developing healthy relationships.
  • Develop and ensure consistent delivery of appropriate education for children through primary and secondary schools and youth services at key transitional stages about personal boundaries, emotional literacy and body safety in order to increase knowledge, improve self-esteem, influence behaviour and increase confidence in seeking help.

[See also ED042]

As 'institutional sexual abuse' is a well-known problem, the Green Party would encourage institutions such as schools, businesses and faith groups to develop abuse prevention strategies, to include a structured and well-publicised process whereby abuse victims can report their concerns, be listened to and for appropriate action to be taken.

SW315 In some cases, such as after abuse, children may be unable to live in the intimate and emotionally demanding environment of a family. Small homes should be provided by the public sector, run by highly qualified, supported and well paid staff. These should provide therapeutic and 'normalising' care required to enable children to reach their potential and become fully participating members of society.

Older People

SW400 Ageism is rife in our society. To those over 50 our society seems to be designed and organised for the needs and benefit of youth.

SW401 Many industries and companies are not interested in employing people despite their knowledge, stability and reliability.

SW402 Retirement means that people no longer get paid for the work they do but that does not mean they stop working. The Green Party's Citizen Income scheme would enable retirement age to be completely flexible recognising that some want to retire as soon as possible and others want to continue working. (see EC732)

SW403 Many voluntary organisations depend on the work and commitment of people who have retired from paid work. Traditional economics ignores such contributions but Citizen's Income will enable people to work part-time, flexible hours and home working.

SW404 People of all ages will be encouraged to study and take up new activities and hobbies.

SW405 Treatment for illnesses will be based on the condition not the age of the person or the region where they live.

SW406 If residential care is needed then it will be provided free and house owners would not be required to sell their home to pay for such care.

Mental illness and emotional vulnerability

For mental health policy see HE350

Disabled People

SW600 The Green Party has endorsed the social model of disability (DY200) where there is a recognition that society has put up barriers which prevents disabled people with different impairments from becoming and being full and active citizens. The Green Party is strongly committed to valuing, empowering and supporting people with illness and disabilities.

SW601 Equal opportunities must start from day one and to this end the green party supports the purpose of the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) which is to ensure disabled people have the same opportunities as non disabled people to participate in civic life.

SW602 The Green Party will seek to strengthen the disability rights commission (DRC) and laws that help to enforce the DDA.

SW603 The Green Party recognises all disabled people, including people with sensory, learning, physical and mental health impairments, should be able to live in the community with appropriate support if desired.

SW604 Social services tends to be institutionalised and inflexible and based on non-disabled peoples' perception of what disabled people need. This has prevented disabled people from determining their own lives.

SW605 It is important for people with disabilities to be part of the socialisation process that their able-bodied peers experience. Children with disabilities should be given support to do activities independently of their parents. They need support and opportunities for personal development.

SW606 Every individual should participate in a comprehensive assessment and a support package be developed to meet the agreed needs. Peoples' needs change and care packages must reflect this.

SW607 Assessments covering all aspects of disabled people lives will be undertaken on a self-assessment basis by disabled people and facilitated by the social workers using a person-centred process. The disabled person can be supported by other persons if they desire. Where support is needed, advocates will have the right to represent the disabled person throughout the assessment and review process.

SW608 Care packages need to provide one-to-one support for any activity or task needed to facilitate the disabled person's functioning. This allows the disabled person to access the same political, social, leisure and work opportunities available to non disabled people. To facilitate the process, local authorities will have single budgets where individualised care packages will be paid for.

SW609 Personal care and support for disabled people should be provided free, so that they can operate from a financial foundation equal to their peers. This includes any expenses incurred from having a disability, such as communication aids, interpretation and accommodation adaptations, mental health support, personal mobility aids, learning support, counselling, psychotherapy, art and music therapy or other therapies as appropriate.

SW610 These services should be available both on professional and self-referral basis. The person should be able to choose the service providers as the success of such support will depend on the personal relationship between the service provider and recipient. 'Support' may mean groups, day and drop-in facilities, counselling, supported working and /or living environments.

SW611 The Green Party would always seek to ensure the emphasis is placed on enabling and empowering people to make choices about their lives. Skills training for job or independent living will be provided.

SW612 Some disabled people need support to manage their own care packages. Each local authority will fund independent living services (Centres for Inclusive Living) to provide advice, advocacy, and support to help people manage their care packages.

SW613 Funding of individual care packages should be provided through a number of mechanisms such as via direct payments, trusts, or third party schemes, all permitted under the NHS and Community Care Act and Community Care (Direct Payments) Act.

SW614 Where there is a dispute between the local authority and the disabled person on the care plan, then a free, independent appeals process will be available and their decisions would be legally binding. When a disabled person moves to another local authority, the individual care package will be guaranteed by that local authority.

SW615 The Green Party recognises there are occasions where a disabled person will be supported by their relatives. Where this is the case, the local authority will ensure that the disabled person has access to independent advocacy. Regular reviews will be undertaken to ensure living with family member(s) will not inhibit the disabled person's autonomy

SW616 Respite care should be provided in a person's home. They should not be forced to vacate their home and go to day centres. Other carers can be brought in the home to enable the usual carer to have time-off.

SW617 For those who are unable to live alone or with their families, the Green Party would seek to achieve staffed housing in communities with trained permanent staff.

SW618 The Green Party will ensure that staff working with people who have severe and multiple needs are adequately trained and remunerated. This will ensure the retention of staff and should reduce the damaging need to employ a changing procession of temporary 'agency' staff.

SW619 Outreach workers need to be available to visit people where they are rather than making appointments which he or she may be unable to keep.


SW900 Unpaid carers play a vital role in supporting disabled people, older people and people suffering from ill health. Their contribution must be recognised and they must be properly supported, otherwise their own health and the health of the people they are caring for will suffer.

SW901 A Green Party government will significantly increase investment in social care and support for carers.

SW902 The Green Party will introduce a new legal duty on the NHS to idenitfy carers and signpost them to support.

SW903 A Green Party govenment will ensure unpaid carers have the right to an annual health check. 

SW904 The Green Party will invest in local authorities to ensure that they have the funds they need to meet their full duties to support unpaid carers.

SW905 The Green Party recognises that Carer's Allowance is too small to provide unpaid carers with enough to live off. We would introduce a carer income guarantee to ensure carers' benefits do not fall further behind the cost of living and encourage local schemes for granting free public transport to carers. A Green government will, in addition to granting everyone a Citizens' Income, look at supplementing this amount for unpaid carers.

SW906 The Green Party will create 'carer passports' to enable carers to carry their rights with them from one neighbourhood or workplace to another.

SW907 The Green Party will ensure that young carers and young adult carers are given support through their education. The Green Party will extend the Pupil Premium to include young carers and we will develop policies to ensure that young carers in schools and young adult carers in colleges and universities are identified and supported.

SW908 In line with our policies on Workers' Rights and Employment (WR348), the Green Party will champion the extension of flexible working in order to support unpaid carers who have additional employment roles.



Social Welfare chapter updates

Spring 2014 revision of SW314

Autumn 2013 deletion of section on mental health, insertion of cross reference to HE350
Autumn 2009 inserted SW303-311
Autumn 2004 Autumn 2016 changes to section on unpaid carers (SW900-908).


The following additional policy statement can be found in the Green Party Record of Policy Statements (RoPS) on Social Welfare available on the Members webiste:

  • Child Support Act (1993. Amended October 2001)
  • Government Attack on Benefits Sevices (Spring 2008)