Fiscal, occupational and social welfare: trends and opportunities for reshaping welfare system in the Basque Country

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In a recent book (Diseño de políticas sociales, in press) I have worked in a theoretical framework for social policy, identifying some opportunities and proposals for reshaping welfare system in our context. I have found some of these opportunities and proposals in the field of new ways of structuring the financial flows from the citizens to the State (taxes and contributions) and from the State to the citizens (benefits). The structure of these economic flows must be coherent with occupational rules (about occupational flexibility, for instance), welfare services provision (health, education, social services, among others) and assumed relational perspective (type of relation between social policy and community networks).

Unlike most other autonomous regions in Spain, the Basque Country (each of one of its three provinces) establishes and collects its own taxes and then pays an agreed sum to the central government. The Autonomous Region of the Basque Country has a health service and education system, as well as an employment service and his own minimum income scheme. The Basque Country also has exclusive devolved power in the field of social services. The different political composition of different levels in this multilevel government scheme allows interesting comparisons.

It should be possible to compare different political and economical decisions and paths and we should be able to identify balances and unbalances between taxes and benefits, between benefits and services and between State and community, in order to propose new ways and tools for fiscal, occupational and social welfare. I think that there are, here and in other European countries, opportunities for innovating in social policy and that we can lead our Welfare state to a more universal, relational, person centered, efficient, sustainable and supported status. Evidence based policy and social innovation must work in order to help in making it possible.

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