Selective inclusion: asylum seekers and other marginalised groups

Tania Burchardt

in A more equal society?

Published by Policy Press

Published in print January 2005 | ISBN: 9781861345783
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447301394 | DOI:
Selective inclusion: asylum seekers and other marginalised groups

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One of the early initiatives of the Labour government was the establishment of the Social Exclusion Unit (SEU). This unit aimed for neighbourhood renewal and for the eradication of social exclusion of marginalised groups. Up to 2004, the groups which SEU produced reports on were: pupils excluded from school or truanting; rough sleepers; teenage parents; sixteen- to eighteen-year-olds not in education, employment, or training; young runaways; ex-prisoners; and children in care. This chapter evaluates New Labour's record on the first three groups. For each in turn, the chapter examines the policy context and trends before 1997, the targets set, and the policies recommended by the SEU, and the outcomes. In addition to discussing the three groups, the chapter also discusses another marginalised group which the SEU failed to consider. This group is the asylum seekers. Asylum seekers provide an interesting case study because they are among the most vulnerable of vulnerable groups. They often arrive traumatised, penniless, and unable to speak the language. Furthermore, asylum has been one of the active areas of government policy, with four major parliamentary acts in the last decade and one currently making its way to Parliament, however one policy can have the effect of generating social exclusion rather than eradicating it. The chapter ends with an assessment of the extent of the success of the government's efforts to reduce the exclusion of marginalised groups. Although it lauded the evidence-based approach by the SEU, the chapter notes the gap that has often emerged between the structural analysis of the problems and the ‘supply-side’ nature of proposed solutions.

Keywords: Social Exclusion Unit; marginalised groups; pupils; rough sleepers; teenage parents; policies; asylum seekers; social exclusion

Chapter.  8379 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social Stratification, Inequality, and Mobility

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