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Family Policy in Britain

5. New Labour Family Policy, 1997-2010

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About this Lecture


In this lecture, we think about key policy changes under the New Labour governments of 1997-2010, focusing in particular on: (i) policies designed to assist low income families, such as the introduction of free childcare and the 1999 child poverty strategy; (ii) efforts to improve the legal status of same-sex families, including the 2002 Adoption and Children Act, which allowed gay couples to adopt, and the legalisation of same-sex civil partnerships in 2004; (iii) the establishment of a government ministry for children.


In this course, Professor Pat Thane (Birkbeck, University of London) explores family policy in Britain since the 1960s. In the first lecture, we set the context by thinking about some key features of family life prior to the 1960s. In the second lecture, we consider policies introduced by the Labour government of 1964-70. In the third lecture, we look at the impacts of these reforms and further changes implemented Labour governments between 1974 and 1979. Next, we look at the policies of the Conservative governments of 1979-97. In the fifth lecture, we explore the New Labour years from 1997 to 2010. In the sixth and final lecture, we look at some important policy changes that have occurred since 2010.


Professor Pat Thane is Visiting Professor in History at Birkbeck, University of London. She researches twentieth century British history, with a focus on social policy. Her recent publications include Divided Kingdom: A History of Britain, 1900 to the Present (2018), Sinners? Scroungers? Saints? Unmarried Motherhood in Twentieth Century England (2012) (with Tanya Evans) and Happy Families? History and Family Policy (2011).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Thane, P. (2021, August 24). Family Policy in Britain - New Labour Family Policy, 1997-2010 [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Thane, P. "Family Policy in Britain – New Labour Family Policy, 1997-2010." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 24 Aug 2021,

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