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 discusses the lessons that can be learned from the industrial collapse, subsequent recovery, and current constraints of European industrial cities. It links the threads of growth, decline, and recovery within ex-industrial cities to bigger trends and patterns that underpin their history, progress, and future trajectories. The chapter describes the main strands of progress of the cities and their strategies for recovery.

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This chapter describes how the three larger industrial cities of Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and Philadelphia responded to the urban crisis. It explains that programmes of renewal evolved in US cities over the long period of urban decline, often driven by extreme racial problems and a gradual recognition that suburban sprawl was itself a problem. Partnerships between the public, private, and community sectors have emerged to drive change. The chapter also considers the recovery prospects of three smaller U.S. cities: Louisville, Chattanooga, and Akron.

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This chapter pulls together the threads of the book with the aim of reaching an overall assessment of the government’s record since it came to power in 1997. It examines whether the evidence of the previous chapters adds up to a picture of substantial change, a serious assault on inherited levels of poverty, inequality, and social exclusion. The chapter examines how much of a difference New Labour, after more than a decade in government, can be said to have made and whether Britain is a ‘more equal society’ than it was in 1997. In several key respects, the UK was a somewhat more equal society after 10 years of New Labour government.

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When New Labour came to power in 1997, its leaders asked for it to be judged after ten years on its success in making Britain ‘a more equal society’. This book asks whether Britain did indeed move in that direction by the time New Labour had achieved a third term in office. The earlier volume A more equal society? was described by Polly Toynbee as ‘the LSE’s mighty judgement on inequality’. This second volume by the same team of authors provides an independent assessment of the success or otherwise of New Labour’s policies over a longer period. It provides: a consideration by a range of expert authors of a broad set of indicators and policy areas affecting poverty, inequality, and social exclusion; analysis of developments up to the third term on areas including income inequality, education, employment, health inequalities, neighbourhoods, minority ethnic groups, children, and older people; an assessment of outcomes a decade on, asking whether policies stood up to the challenges, and whether successful strategies have been sustained or have run out of steam; and chapters on migration, social attitudes, the devolved administrations, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), and future pressures.

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When New Labour came to power in 1997, its leaders asked for it to be judged after ten years on its success in making Britain ‘a more equal society’. This book asks whether Britain did indeed move in that direction by the time New Labour had achieved a third term in office. The earlier volume A more equal society? was described by Polly Toynbee as ‘the LSE’s mighty judgement on inequality’. This second volume by the same team of authors provides an independent assessment of the success or otherwise of New Labour’s policies over a longer period. It provides: a consideration by a range of expert authors of a broad set of indicators and policy areas affecting poverty, inequality, and social exclusion; analysis of developments up to the third term on areas including income inequality, education, employment, health inequalities, neighbourhoods, minority ethnic groups, children, and older people; an assessment of outcomes a decade on, asking whether policies stood up to the challenges, and whether successful strategies have been sustained or have run out of steam; and chapters on migration, social attitudes, the devolved administrations, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), and future pressures.

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This chapter examines the success of education policy – Labour’s top priority in every manifesto – in reducing inequalities in educational attainment in compulsory and post-compulsory education. It looks at what happened to educational inequality during this period of investment, growth, and reform. The chapter adopts a conventional approach used in education research, looking at the differences in attainment between different social groups rather than simply at the overall distribution of attainment, thus reflecting historic welfarist aspirations for universal state education as an equalising force in society. It focuses primarily on social-class inequalities in England.

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This chapter discusses equalities and human rights reform since 1997, arguing that recent legislation and the Equality and Human Rights Commission may herald a new era in the battle against persistent horizontal inequalities across gender, ethnic background, disability, and sexuality. It evaluates the reform programme against two benchmarks: Labour’s 1997-election-manifesto commitments to ‘end unfair discrimination wherever it exists’ and to incorporate the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) into domestic law; and more far-reaching reform models that view equality and human-rights standards as elements of a broader social-justice agenda.

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This chapter examines New Labour’s strategies to reduce ethnic inequalities. It evaluates the impact of general policies and specifically targeted initiatives on longstanding inequalities between ethnic groups in education, employment and income, and policing. At the forefront was the 2000 Race Relations (Amendment) Act, which places a statutory duty on all public authorities to promote equality of opportunity and good relations between different racial groups. Aside from New Labour’s legislative framework to produce racial equality, the prevention of social exclusion has been pivotal, with a focus on reducing multiple disadvantage for all groups.

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This chapter is less optimistic about the future for income inequality. It discusses four key factors that may make progress towards greater income equality increasingly challenging: the intergenerational transmission of advantage; wealth and inheritance; demographic change; and environmental sustainability. The chapter specifically includes pressures on public finances and the need to reduce carbon emissions in the face of climate change.

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This chapter examines health inequalities, an area subject to considerable prominence, a number of targets, and several government inquiries, but where policy action has been less clear. The long-term effects of the policies enacted by successive New Labour governments over the last 10 years remain uncertain, but the short- to medium-term impact of those policies has been disappointing. The government has been ambiguous and has lacked clarity of vision and transparency on at least two fronts: in assessing the implications of its choice of geographic inequalities as the top priority for government action; and in its persistent claims that overall health and lifestyle improvements would necessarily be accompanied by reductions in health inequalities.

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