Bringing up families in poor neighbourhoods under New Labour

Anne Power and Helen Willmot

in A more equal society?

Published by Policy Press

Published in print January 2005 | ISBN: 9781861345783
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447301394 | DOI:
Bringing up families in poor neighbourhoods under New Labour

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  • Social Stratification, Inequality, and Mobility


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For five years, the lives of the 200 families in four of the most deprived areas in the country have been traced. Every year, the authors of this chapter visit the families and record their changing views and experiences on child-raising in difficult and unpopular neighbourhoods. The four areas, two in East London and two in Yorkshire were chosen from the twelve representative deprived areas that were examined in an attempt to understand the changing fortunes of such places. Three of the four places were rapidly changing and becoming more ethnically diverse while the other area comprises almost entirely white large council estates in Leeds. After the ascension to office of New Labour in 1997, the new Prime Minister introduced a new approach to the joined up problems by calling up for joined up solutions. Under the Prime Minister, a new unit that tackled social exclusion was set up. The Social Exclusion Unit (SEU) recognised the centrality of area conditions in holding back families and particularly children and young people from opportunities, and advocated broad targets that would reduce deprivation within disadvantaged areas. However, as the area of initiatives multiplied, complaints from local authorities and within Whitehall emerged. This chapter focuses on what is really happening within the four deprived areas, whether programmes and interventions really matter, and whether mothers and their children benefit or not from the policies targeted at deprived and marginalised groups. The first section discusses the two areas of government action targeted at the entire population, but with greater emphasis on deprived areas where the problems are most severe: education and employment. The succeeding sections focus on the three initiatives that are specifically targeted at deprived areas: New Deal for Communities and Sure Start; community participation and empowerment; and community policing and neighbourhood wardens.

Keywords: deprived areas; difficult neighbourhoods; unpopular neighbourhoods; East London; Yorkshire; Social Exclusion Unit; deprivation; education; employment; New Deal

Chapter.  8452 words. 

Subjects: Social Stratification, Inequality, and Mobility

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