Series: CASE Studies on Poverty, Place and Policy


Poverty is still a real issue within Britain today and this essential series provides evidence-based insights into how communities and families are dealing with it.

Published in conjunction with the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion (CASE) at the London School of Economics, this series draws together fresh research and sheds important light on the impact of anti-poverty policy, focusing on the individual and social factors that promote regeneration, recovery and renewal.

CASE Studies on Poverty, Place and Policy

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This chapter investigates the new policies of the New Labour government, including wider urban, regional, and housing policies. There have been two distinct phases of policy development in England: the introduction of a new range of area-based policies, and the introduction of the National Strategy for Neighbourhood Renewal. The New Labour government’s area programmes, which became commonly known as area-based initiatives (ABIs), included both comprehensive area-regeneration schemes and specific programmes on health, education, employment, and early-years development. The Action Plan for the National Strategy for Neighbourhood Renewal had five key elements. Building on this approach, it included over 100 specific elements, some of them new, some already being done. The New Labour government’s policy agenda for neighbourhood renewal was certainly broader than that of any of its predecessors, and seemed to have learnt some of the lessons of the past.

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This chapter provides a discussion on the solutions for the problems of housing and labour. The major advantage of stock transfer was that it offered an unprecedented opportunity to improve housing conditions. Apart from the improvement of the existing stock, the other major development since the first acquaintance with the areas was the open discussion of the social and economic value of mixed-income and mixed-tenure neighbourhoods and the development of specific plans to break up poverty clusters. In the absence of stock transfer, funding housing improvements at neighbourhood level was difficult. Local authorities were also looking to reduce poverty concentrations by changing the tenure mix of neighbourhoods. The overall picture in 2001 was more optimistic than in 1999, and there were prospects of tackling housing-demand and -supply problems in the longer term.

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The dynamics of neighbourhood decline and renewal

Poverty street addresses one of the UK’s major social policy concerns: the gap between the poorest neighbourhoods and the rest of the country. It is an account of neighbourhood decline, a portrait of conditions in the most disadvantaged areas and an up-to-date analysis of the impact of the government’s neighbourhood renewal policies.

The book:

· explores twelve of the most disadvantaged areas in England and Wales, from Newcastle in the north to Thanet in the south, providing the reader with a unique journey around the country’s poverty map;

· combines evidence from neighbourhood statistics, photographs and the accounts of local people with analysis of broader social and economic trends;

· assesses the effect of government policies since 1997 and considers future prospects for reducing inequalities.

CASE Studies on Poverty, Place and Policy series

Series Editor: John Hills, Director of CASE at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Drawing on the findings of the ESRC Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion’s extensive research programme into communities, poverty and family life in Britain, this fascinating series:

Provides a rich and detailed analysis of anti-poverty policy in action.

Focuses on the individual and social factors that promote regeneration, recovery and renewal.

For other titles in this series, please follow the series link from the main catalogue page.

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This chapter provides a discussion on social interaction and neighbourhood reputation. One of the most striking features of the interviews with residents, who were mainly active within their neighbourhoods, was their allusion to the strength of community ties. Despite the evidence of strong community, it would be a mistake to portray the areas as single communities, socially cohesive and integrated. As communities shrank, residents found it increasingly difficult to exercise informal social control over neighbours’ behaviour and neighbourhood conditions. Community was also made up of myriad social networks and meant different things to different people. Defensiveness caused social networks to shrink and to be less effective in maintaining social norms and standards. Meanwhile, the extent of overlap with networks outside the neighbourhood was limited by poverty, local employment, or worklessness, and by the traditional strength of local social networks.

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