The British social welfare system comprises the National Health Service,the personal social services, and social security. The National Health Service provides a comprehensive range of medical services which are available to all residents, irrespective of means. Local authority personal social services and voluntary organizations provide help and advice to the most vulnerable members of the community. These include elderly people, disable people and children in need of care. The social security system is designed to secure a basic standard of living for people in financial need by providing income during periods of inability to earn ( including periods of unemployment ), help for families and assistance with costs arising from disablement.
Central government is directly responsible for the National Health Service, administered by a range of health authorities and boards throughout Britain acting as its agents, and for the social security system. It has an indirect responsibility for the personal social services administered by local authorities. Joint finance and planning between health and local authorities aim to prevent overlapping of services and to encourage the development of community services.
Planned spending on social welfare in 1989-1990 was : health over & 25,000 million and personal social services over & 4,800 million ( together representing some 15 per cent of general government expenditure ); and social security benefits some & 51,000 million ( 31 per cent ).
Expenditure on the health service has increased substantially in real terms since 1990, and current spending is planned to grow further. More patients are now being treated than ever before. Spending on social security is rising because of increased numbers of beneficiaries, especially retirement pensioners, the long-term sick and disabled, and the unemployed, and the value of retirement and most other long-term benefits has been increased in real terms since 1990. Major reforms to the social security system have been introduced under the Social Security Act 1986; these are designed to provide a clearer, simpler system more capable of meeting genuine need. Spending on the personal social services is determined by local authorities, and while constraints are placed by central government on the total expenditure of individual local authorities, spending has risen substantially in real terms since the late 1990s, thus reflecting the priority given to this sector.
Read the following words and define their meanings.
Pick out in the text all the expressions with the following words and give their Russian equivalents.
System - ________________
Service (s) - ______________
Expenditure - _________________
Government - _________________
Health - _____________________
Spending - ___________________
Answer the following questions.
7. What does the British social welfare system comprise ?
8. What organizations provide help and advice to the most vulnerable members of the community ?
9. What categories of people refer to the most vulnerable members of community ?
10. What is the central government responsible for ?
11. Since what year has the expenditure on the health service increased ?
12. What major reforms to the social security system have been introduced under the Social Security Act ?
13. What authorities are responsible for the personal services administration ?
14. Spending on what services has risen substantially in real terms since the late 1990s ?
Text 1. Marriage
1. In all societies there are rules that determine how men and women may live together and raise their children. In Western civilization, it has become the general custom for those of marriageable age to find the mates. Formerly choices were limited. Royalty could marry only royalty. Even among commoners there were strict social strata within which marriage was permissible.
2. In many non-Western societies today, marriage is thought to be principally the business of the two families who are joined by the alliance. Such matters as family, position and wealth are considered more important than the individual choice of the boy and girl, who often do not see each other before their marriage.
3. In every society there are rules about who may be married to whom. Marriages between close relatives are forbidden universally. In India, one may marry someone of his own caste but may not marry anyone born in his own village.
4. Most peoples of Europe and America insist that a marriage be between one man and one woman. This type of marriage is called monogamy. Many non-Western cultures permit plural marriages. Usually these allow one man to have several wives (polygamy), but in a few societies a woman may have more than one husband (polyandry). Both types of plural marriages are referred to as polygamy. In still fewer societies group marriages occur. Group or plural marriages are usually controlled by the economic conditions in the society.
5. In polygamy a man is allowed to have as many wives as he can support, or in the opposite situation a woman may be permitted more than one husband only if one husband is not able to support her. In practically all societies marriages may be broken through the process of divorce.
1. How many wives is a man in polygamy allowed to have?
2. In what way may marriages be broken?
3. Are marriages getting younger nowadays?
Text 2. Living together: Once a stigma, now a trend
For many couples living together has replaced marriage in recent years. There are many reasons for that. It can provide a chance for shared life without a shared bank account. And for those who are skittish about marriage, living together offers, what they say, “the same level of commitment”.
“I am very cautious about marriage, having grown up around not very pretty one”, said David Bergman, 39, an architect who lives in Manhattan with Lori Greenberg, 32, a graphic designer. “I consider myself rebellious. I am not sure what I am rebelling against, but I really don’t see a need for marriage. There is no less strength of commitment in living together than in marriage”.
Ms. Greenberg doesn’t think marriage implies a strong commitment either. “I get pretty angry about the rules that society places on us”, she said. “I think that if things are going really well, why do we have to prove things?”
Research shows that among older couples, cohabitation often follows divorce. Once you’ve been divorced, you are more cautious about things.
While some people see little difference between marriage and cohabitation, others say they are intentionally keeping a distance from their partners. That seems to be the case for Ruth, 83, who asked that her last name not to be used, to protect her privacy. She lives with a man who is 85. She says that they have been living together for more than four years and they have no intention of marrying. Both are widowed.
“I’m a free spirit”, Ruth said. “I need my space. Sometimes we think of marriage, but then I think that I don’t want to be tied down”.
For all the advantages living together may provide, there is no guarantee that it will translate into a good marriage. Researchers have found that about 50 percent of marriages that begin in cohabitation break up. Many of them are uncertain whether this is because people who live together are tolerant of divorce or because there is a direct relationship between cohabitation and divorce.
Some researchers have discovered that people who live together are often less committed to each other than married couples. There is often less sexual fidelity between cohabiting partners.
Cohabiting couples also tend to make fewer financial investments together, which seems to underscore their independence.
“It is a little hard to know the cause and effect of cohabitation and divorce”, said David Popenoe, the associate dean for social and behavioral sciences at Rutgers University. “I hope that as the trend continues, divorce rates will soften. We can’t go back to a society where people don’t have sex or live together at all before marriage nor do I want to go back to one where people are matched up at 20 for life”.
1. Match words to make a word combination.
a)to provide independence
to keep commitments
to make a bank account
to underscore things
to share investments
to imply a chance
to enjoy a distance
to prove companionship
2. Put the right word into each gap.
Break up, provides a chance, make financial investments, committed, has replaced, follows, to be tied down
a) Sometimes cohabitation ……. divorce.
b) Living together …….marriage for many people.
c) People who live together are often less …….to each other.
d) Cohabitation …….for shared life without a shared bank account.
e) As a rule spouses …….together.
f) About 50 % of marriages that begin in cohabitation ……. .
g) They didn’t want …….by the marriage and decided just to live together.
3. Points for discussion.
1) Why do you think the number of cohabiting couples is increasing?
2) Why do you think some men don’t want to be tied down with marriage?
3) Why do you think cohabiting couples tend to make less financial investments together?
4) What problems do spouses face up when they want to get divorced?
5) Do you think divorce rates will soften if the trend to cohabiting continues?
Text 3. A Russian wife for a foreigner: there are problems
“Why did I decide to marry a foreigner? I couldn’t find a worthy partner in Russia and believed the myth about interesting, serious Western men. “There are no cheats there, they are all gentlemen”, I though thought. Actually, even abroad the same old ‘Russian’ problems – cheating and lies – are hidden behind the façade”, says Olga who was married to a Swede.
In most cases Russian women turn to marriage agencies for help in finding a foreign husband. Most of these offer a one hundred percent guarantee to women under forty with higher education, good housekeeping skills and a knowledge of English.
Unfortunately most women do not stop to consider why these foreigners are looking for wives in other countries. Marriage agency managers openly admit that these are usually men over 40 with mental disorders such as schizophrenia or alcoholism.
There exists an opinion that first in line for foreign wives are worn-out “second-hand” husbands-to-be, sexual athletes and … ageing mothers searching for permanent nannies for their sons. These are men lacking demand among the local women.
There may also be elderly men of eighty and over who want to marry young women. In the West with its widespread emancipation, such a suitor could possibly find himself in prison. There are places where a woman can make a perfectly official complaint to the police if a senior citizen proposes to her. Meanwhile the attentions of pensioners are, unfortunately, still of interest to Russian women. But, as is often the case, the women picture not real life, but a fairy-tale that has no relation to reality.
“In the mornings, between baby feeds, I went out to clean offices to earn a measly wage to keep the family”, continues Olga. “My husband didn’t have a job and didn’t want any financial responsibilities. The rows soon began, and then the fights. After yet another beating I couldn’t take any more and turned to the social services”.
Despite significant mistakes by Russian women, the number wishing to marry abroad isn’t decreasing. On average any professional agency has an archive of at least a thousand Russian women, one in two of which is a lonely beauty with higher education. Russian women are used to considering themselves the most beautiful in the world, and this is the case.
Foreign men marrying Russian women have their own reasons in mind. In most cases they don’t want to see their wives as competitors in business and assign them to the role of housewife. Far from every Russian woman today, however, accepts such an allocation. Statistics confirm this: the majority of Russian wives abroad begin to get actively involved in business. Naturally this causes protests from their husbands. Very often such independence ends in divorce.
With increasing accessibility to the Internet, the process of Russian women emigrating for marriage has increased several times over. Call into any business center providing Internet services, and you’ll see girl students with their dictionaries writing letters to their foreign friends. “Unfortunately, for many Russian women such concepts as ‘confidence in the future’, ‘stability’, etc. are based on the size of her husband’s wallet and not on her own education, skills, job or earnings”, says Eugenie, who works at an Internet café.
If you still decide to marry a Russian beauty, ask yourself this important question: do you need this? International dating is a serious step to take. First of all, think: are you lonely? Are you financially stable? Are you ready to take on responsibility of a woman from Russia and, possibly, her child? If the answer is yes, then you’ll be happy together and your country will become a beautiful setting for your marital bliss.
1. Translate into Russian:
One hundred percent guarantee, mental disorder, ageing mothers, baby feeds, measly wage, competitors in business, to take on responsibility, this is the case, good housekeeping skills, worn-out “second-hand” husband-to-be, widespread emancipation, marital bliss, international dating, senior citizen, to accept an allocation, on average.
In most cases Russian women turn to a)…….for help in finding a b)……. . As a rule these are women under forty, with c)……., good d)……., and e)…….of English. All of them are dreaming of a f)…….that has no relation to g)……. . In fact, when they get abroad, in most cases they have to h)…….and run the house, as their i)…….are not enough to find a job. So they j)…….their husbands and lack k)……. . Some of them want to be l)…….and their hunger for independence often results in m)……. .
2. Fill in the gaps with appropriate prepositions.
Russian women usually turn ……. marriage agencies ……. help ……. finding a foreign husband when they’ve despaired to find a worthy local one. Any professional agency has an archive ……. ……. least a thousand Russian women, one ……. two ……. which is a lonely beauty ……. higher education. ……. increasing accessibility ……. the Internet, the percent ……. Russian women emigrating ……. marriage has increased several times ……. . Most ……. them are ready to get married ……. a not very young foreign man only to escape ……. Russia. However ……. most cases foreign men enter ……. marriage ……. certain reason – they need a complaisant housewife.
3. Points for discussion.
1) Why do you think many Russian women nowadays want to find a foreign husband?
2) Why do you think foreign men look for their wives in Russia and not in their countries?
3) What demands do foreign men make of their future Russian wives?
4) What problems might Russian women face up when they get married to a foreigner and start living abroad?