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Department of Social Policy public lecture
Good Times Bad Times: the welfare myth of them and us

Date: Wednesday 12 November 2014 
Time: 6.30-8pm 
Venue: Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building
Speaker: Professor Sir John Hills
Respondents: Polly Toynbee and  Professor Holly Sutherland
Chair: Professor Julian Le Grand 

This ground-breaking book Good Times Bad Times: the welfare myth of them and us by John Hills, challenges the idea of a divide in the UK population between those who benefit from the welfare state and those who pay into it.

John Hills is Director of the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion (CASE) at LSE

Polly Toynbee is a political and social commentator for the Guardian.


Julian Le Grand is the Richard Titmuss Professor of Social Policy at LSE. 

Holly Sutherland is a Director of the Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER) at the University of Essex.


Suggested hashtag for this event for Twitter users:  
#LSEwelfaremyth

 

This event is free and open to all with no ticket or pre-registration required. Entry is on a first come, first served basis. For any queries see LSE Events FAQ or contact us at events@lse.ac.uk or 0207 955 6043


News Posted: 12 November 2014      [Back to the Top]

New blog post
The cuts in local government funding have had a significant impact on London's most deprived communities

How has the significant cuts to local authority funding affected front-line services? There had undoubtedly been enormous strain on services and front-line staff, with councils have argued that the limits to efficiency have been reached. Amanda Fitzgerald presents findings from a new report for the Trust for London into the most deprived communities in London. Read the blog at LSE British Politics and Policy
News Posted: 23 October 2014      [Back to the Top]

New report launched
Hard times, new directions? The impact of local government spending cuts on three deprived neighbourhoods

CASE researchers, with funding from Trust for London, have examined, through an in-depth case study approach, three London councils’ responses to the cuts, as well as what those responses have meant for services and residents of one of the most deprived wards of each borough.  The research focused on services for families with under-fives, young people 16-24 and older people 65+.

Key findings include:

  • Front line services for under-fives and young people have been impacted in all wards (with the exception of under-fives services in Camden) but not to the degree we might have expected from the extent of local government spending cuts.
  •  Staff reductions were widely reported in these services and were the principal change in most cases.  Those reductions were being offset as far as possible through paid staff doing more and through use of volunteers.  For this reason more extensive impact to the front line had to this point been avoided.
  • Services for older people had been affected more than services for under-fives and young people in all three wards.  Losses of day centres, reductions in activities, or higher charges had occurred across the case studies.  Adult Social Care makes up the largest part of council spending and as councils are obliged to protect statutory provision discretionary community services are being substantially impacted.
  • In the wards where children’s centre activity provision had been reduced parents reported worsening behavioural problems.  Parents on low incomes were not able to offset those service reductions by paying for private services.
  • Older residents who had experienced changes in local provision reported greater boredom.  In some cases the changes have created  a barrier to access (e.g. inability to pay higher charges) and leaving those older residents more isolated.  Social ties were being severed with service losses.
  •  VCS organisations we spoke with are under increasing pressure, particularly smaller, locally specific ones.  We have to question the long-term potential of VCS provision supplying the antidote to council reductions at the local level given the extent of competition for funding reported.  We have noted here the reduction in all wards of funding to VCS providers of older people’s services and, importantly, the impact of that on older residents’ lives.
  •  This work reflects a snapshot at a particular point in time, just before local elections in 2014 and before a second round of budget cuts.  The situation is likely to get worse.  Several of the service managers we spoke with were unsure of the future of their job or the service they managed.

A summary is available to download here (pdf) and the full report available here

The report is part of the Social Policy in a Cold Climate research programme, jointly funded by Nuffield Foundation, Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Trust for London.


News Posted: 16 October 2014      [Back to the Top]

Report Launch:
Facing Debt: Economic Resilience in Newham

On 18th July 2014 the final report was launched from a year long research project conducted by the London School of Economics for the London Borough of Newham into the impact of debt and the experience of life on a low income.

 

The rising cost of living, stagnant wages and welfare reform have placed many households under increased financial strain. This report, commissioned by the London Borough of Newham and written independently by Professor Anne Power, offers a powerful insight into the lives of some of the hardest pressed people in our country. This research highlights the struggle of both working and non-working households and explores the relationship between financial planning and skills and attitudes to credit and debt. The report also provides a valuable insight into the real impact of welfare reforms and helps to inform Newham’s ongoing work to strengthen resilience.

 

A panel discussion was held with Polly Toynbee (Guardian), Vidhya Alakeson (Resolution Foundation), Professor Anne Power (LSE) and Sir Robin Wales (Mayor of Newham). The discussion considered the drivers and solutions to increasing levels of personal debt and what can be done locally, nationally and within the community to build economic resilience. The London Borough of Newham also outlined its plans to respond to the analysis in the report.  

The full report is available here (pdf). An audio recording of the launch event is also available.

Watch an interview with a Newham resident who took part in the research.


News Posted: 18 July 2014      [Back to the Top]


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