Fiona Devine

in The Oxford Handbook of British Politics

Published in print July 2009 | ISBN: 9780199230952
Published online January 2010 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Politics & International Relations


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This article deals with the evidence on widening class inequalities and addresses how that evidence may be used to evaluate Labour's ten years in power as it has sought to make Britain a more equal society. It first covers the main patterns and trends in class inequalities in Britain from the 1940s to the 1990s. The ongoing controversies around class and the growing consensus that social mobility is declining are explained. The article then elaborates Labour's social policies to enhance social mobility with specific reference to its education policies. Furthermore, it presents the challenges that remain and the difficulties that Labour confronts in tackling inequalities that have proved so resistant to change. The reproduction of class inequalities across generations is a complex affair and policy interventions have to be equally sophisticated in fashion. To date, policies to alleviate class inequalities have a mild effect.

Keywords: class inequalities; Labour; Britain; social mobility; social policies

Article.  9062 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; UK Politics ; Political Behaviour

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