Ten years have passed since devolution was implemented for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. This anniversary is worthy of note for all scholars of UK social welfare, not just those with a specialist interest in political reform or the ‘Celtic’ nations, because reflection on the first decade of devolution inspires a rethink of some of the basic working assumptions of social policy analysis (see below, also Mooney et al., 2006), for example the extent to which the notion of a UK welfare state remains meaningful (cf. McEwen and Parry, 2005). This themed section provides an opportunity to consider the impact of devolution on broader understandings of polity, policy and practice as well as pointing to further possible divergences in and across the UK. These are explored in relation to key areas of social welfare intervention in Scotland, focussing particularly on poverty, inequality and social justice; immigration and the experiences of labour migrants in rural areas; the use of private finance; key literature and useful sources.
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