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  • Author or Editor: Steve Iafrati x
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Morals and markets is the theme in Chapter Eight, which examines the rise of payday loans as a means to satisfy financial needs outside the realms of statutory provision. In the context of the geographically uneven incidence of poverty and the multiple economic disadvantages faced by deindustrialised locales in the UK, this chapter focuses attention on the essential problems of household strategies to deal with poverty, but in particularly challenging times, given the combination of cost-of-living increases, frozen benefit levels and reduced eligibility for housing support. While payday loans have been the subject of much recent policy and media attention, the case study of Wolverhampton presented in this chapter demonstrates the inadequacy of supply-led regulation in the face of increasing demand, and a lack of willingness on the part of policy makers to recognise the structural causes of this demand. The final discussion further reflects on the alternative possibilities for policy within the limits of ‘responsible capitalism.’

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Based on freedom of information responses from English local authorities, the research examines the number of households where a duty to accommodate was accepted that were subsequently housed in other local authority areas. Recognising neoliberal housing policy of increased marketisation and less government intervention, the article identifies market failure, housing unaffordability and welfare reform contributing to households being displaced and social cleansing. Importantly, the research recognises negative housing outcomes beyond the binary of homelessness and the impact on vulnerable households by examining out of area housing, which is currently an under-researched area within housing.

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Based on research with 21 food banks across eight local authority areas in England, this article examines the sustainability of food banks in their attempts to balance demand and supply. Against a background of multiple deprivation and welfare reforms in the UK, food banks are becoming increasingly important for growing numbers of people. However, at a time when food banks’ ability to meet this increasing demand is close to capacity, this article examines how social purpose is a core element in food banks’ understanding of sustainability. With food banks having little control over the level of demand, and supply being increasingly close to capacity, if demand exceeds supply, sustainability will necessitate either denying demand or expanding supply.

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Tension and Discrimination in 21st Century Britain
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Recognising diverse groups within society is a vital part of policy research and analysis, yet few texts have drawn together the breadth of experiences of welfare provision from a diverse group of citizens.

This book fills this gap, by exploring how diverse citizens experience welfare provision. It aims to promote debate about the importance of social divisions in society and to address the gaps in research, in relation to race, ethnicity, disability, gender and LGBTQ+.

It comes at a crucial time as we emerge out of a decade of austerity, a global pandemic and Brexit, where issues of diversity have been at the forefront of debates, and renews the call for analysis within social policy, particularly on issues of diversity in the 21st century context.

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This chapter provides a brief introduction to the topic of this book. It considers the topicality of debates around citizenship and diversity, exploring ongoing tensions (primarily in the UK context). Attention is given to the impact of the Black Lives Matters campaigns, the inequalities exposed by COVID-19 and the developing cultural war around trans people to illustrate that there are ongoing tensions around diversity, discrimination and a failed application of equal citizenship status. The chapter concludes with a brief overview of the structure and subsequent chapters within the book.

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Setting out the broader conceptual framework and debates, this chapter considers the central influence of citizenship as a concept in the development of the welfare state. Exploring the development of citizen rights and the emergence of the imagined communities of nation-states provides a historic overview on the formation of contemporary citizenship narratives. This is then contested for the often male, heteronormative, cis, White and able-bodied assumptions within citizenship narratives to explore the centrality of diversity within citizenship status. Drawing on Hoffman’s (2004) account of citizenship as a momentum concept, the chapter seeks to set out a critical framework which can be drawn through the various chapters and revisited in the Conclusion.

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With Social Policy’s rich academic history of analysing the causes and impacts of inequality, it might be expected that concepts of race and ethnicity sit firmly in the centre of the discipline. Surprisingly, however, this axis of inequality is somewhat peripheral within contemporary Social Policy, despite popular recognition of concepts such as institutional racism. Using a critical realist-informed approach, this chapter argues that for Social Policy to be more equipped to analyse inequalities associated with race and ethnicity, the discipline needs to develop a broader conceptual base. This may include looking at concepts more readily associated with other disciplines and, in doing so, place it in a better position to recognise government’s actions and policies as indicative of a broader political and ideological landscape.

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This chapter highlights the recurring themes of the contributions to this text: that below the veneer of celebrating diversity, there is still a long way to travel before we reach a place that even closely resembles equality. It revisits some of the key debates explored in Chapters 2 and 3 to explore the complex interplay of ideology, policy, legislation and the positionality of specific groups which shapes welfare provision. Further, the chapter draws out some of the book’s key contributions to debates regarding citizenship and welfare, to highlight how citizenship provides access to services and the provision that people need to ensure a level playing field, but it also challenges the assumption that welfare improves lives, by recognising a series of increasingly evident fracture lines within society.

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