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News Archive 2012

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Towering Ambitions
Anne Power speaks at Green Alliance report launch

On Monday 4th December, Anne Power spoke as part of a panel at the launch of the Green Alliance report, Towering Ambitions, work that is closely related to LSE Housing and Communities' report to Rockwool, High Rise Hope.

To access the Green Alliance report, please click here. You can also find their toolkit for high rise green living and a leaflet on the green economy.
News Posted: 07 December 2012      [Back to the Top]

LSE Housing and Communities Report Launch
Bigger than Business

Bigger than Business report launch
Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building, LSE
Wednesday 28th November, 9.30-11.15am

Launch of Bigger than Business, LSE Housing and Communities’ report for Orbit Housing Group.

Alongside the substantial impacts of the financial and economic crisis, housing associations are responding to radical changes in their operating environment. Associations are seeking to balance social, entrepreneurial and business activities. Orbit Group commissioned the London School of Economics’ Housing and Communities Team to develop a sustainable framework for Orbit’s future investment in communities. The study involved the training of six residents as peer researchers.

The LSE team conducted over 160 in-depth interviews with residents, staff and local community leaders in three Orbit communities to determine investment priorities and effective ways of working. The six volunteer resident researchers conducted 60 resident interviews, half the total number. This peer research method was highly successful.

Bigger than Business was launched with a special event at LSE, with speeches from the Minister for Civil Society, Nick Hurd MP, as well as Professor Anne Power of LSE and Paul Tennant, the Chief Executive of Orbit Housing Group. The session was chaired by Professor John Hills, Director of the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion (CASE) at LSE.

Nick Hurd, the Minister for Civil Society, said:

"People want to live in strong communities. So it is no surprise that many Housing Associations have for years been doing great work to maximise their social impact. I look forward to more cooperation with Government as we explore the potential of residents to engage with community building programmes like Community Organisers, Community First and NCS. Involving residents is fundamental and so I congratulate LSE and Orbit on this groundbreaking work."

Copies of all volumes of Bigger Than Business: Housing associations and community investment in an age of austerity are available here to download as pdf's

To hear more about Bigger than Business email

News Posted: 09 November 2012      [Back to the Top]

High Rise Hope
Media bites

LSE Housing and Communities report for Rockwool, High Rise Hope, has caused quite a stir since its launch on Friday 19th October.

The work was the subject of the editor's blog on the Guardian Housing Network and was also featured in articles in Inside Housing and Building Design. The research has been publicised by the HCA, the University of Westminster and the National Home Improvement Council, as well as the Architects Journal and Green Build News.

Further coverage in the links below:

For more information on High Rise Hope, contact or Katie Bates,

News Posted: 02 November 2012      [Back to the Top]

High Rise Hope
LSE Housing and Communities launch report for Rockwool

Friday 19th October 2012, 9.30am - 12 noon
London School of Economics
5th floor, Lionel Robbins Building, Portugal Street

The London School for Economics and Rockwool launched High Rise Hope, a path-breaking investigation into the social impact of whole building energy efficiency refurbishments in residential tower blocks.

In advance of the Green Deal, LSE Housing and Communities investigated the social impact of the landmark energy efficiency scheme at the Edward Woods estate in Shepherd’s Bush by talking to 50 residents over the winter of 2011 during the major work of cladding, installing solar PV and changing the worst heating systems.

The LSE report High Rise Hope highlights lessons learned and the potential benefits from transforming a 1960s local authority housing estate into a landmark development. The project provides a blueprint for large-scale energy efficiency schemes showing how energy saving can help take millions of people out of fuel poverty, if accompanied by education to help households cut energy use.

The full report is available here to download (pdf)

From the launch event there is a video time lapse of the whole building energy efficient retrofit and available top download is Anne Power's presentation of the report findings (pdf)


News Posted: 19 October 2012      [Back to the Top]

A job in itself:
the thankless task for young unemployed people looking for work

The task faced by young unemployed people looking for work is highlighted by CASE research, in a new report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), co-authored by Rebecca Tunstall, Ruth Lupton, Anne Green, Simon Watmough and Katie Bates.

With more than one million 16 to 24-year-olds unemployed, researchers from LSE and the Universities of York and Warwick looked at the challenges facing young people in one of the toughest jobs markets in decades. The research found vacancies closed to candidates within days, and in some cases, hours.

In three UK cities, one with a weak supply of jobs, one with a better supply and one in-between, researchers sent 2,000 job applications from fictional candidates with at least five good GCSEs and relevant work experience to 667 real vacancies (sales assistants, cleaners, office administrators and kitchen hands).

Even in the stronger job market, there were 24 unemployed people chasing each retail vacancy available through Jobcentre Plus, and 50 for each office vacancy. In the weaker job market area, the figures were 66 and 44 respectively.

A 22-year-old man in the medium job market described taking his CV into a shop:

“The other worker who wasn’t a manager threw it in the bin, because people are trying to protect their own jobs…it’s dog-eat-dog at the moment”.

The study also found:

  • Over two-thirds of applications (69%) received no response at all.
  • 78% of the jobs applied for paid under £7 an hour, while 54% offered the minimum wage. Just 24% of the vacancies offered full-time, daytime work.
  • In the weak labour market, 10 jobseekers chased every job compared to five jobseekers in the strong one.
  • Jobseekers who do not have high-speed internet at home are at a substantial disadvantage and can only search for jobs sporadically, rather than the daily basis that is required.
  • Applications sent a week after jobs were first advertised were half as likely to receive positive responses as those sent in the first three days.
  • The research found there was strong evidence that good-quality applicants from neighbourhoods with poor reputations were not more likely to be rejected by employers.
  • However, employers expressed a preference for local candidates with easy journeys to work. One employer remarked:

Someone who is an hour’s journey away is going to be no use to me”.

Transport proved a big barrier for young people, with applicants reliant on public transport severely hindered. While current policy requires jobseekers to look further afield (up to 90 minutes’ away), it does not necessarily succeed in getting more people into work. Young people were willing to consider jobs at such distance, but the research found it puts jobseekers into competition with others who are closer.

The report suggests jobseekers would benefit from extra intelligence and local knowledge from their Jobcentre Plus advisers about employers’ recruitment and selection practices to enable better targeting of applications.

However, even with this support, applying for entry-level work in the current climate is a thankless task for many young unemployed people, particularly if they live in weak job market areas.

Young people had responded to repeat rejection by volunteering, improving their qualifications and turning to friendship networks to enhance their job search.

Chris Goulden, Head of Poverty at JRF, said: “It’s important we have measures that provide more full-time, decent-paying jobs that can ensure work pays. A lack of success in the jobs market saps confidence, demotivates and leaves a scar across a generation of young people, while part-time, low-pay work traps people in poverty.

“On the day the latest unemployment statistics are released, this report makes for grim reading for young people. The intense competition shows the main problem is more fundamental - a major shortage of jobs.”

Disadvantaged Young People Looking For Work: a job in itself (Full report, pdf) Download the Executive Summary (pdf)

News Posted: 17 October 2012      [Back to the Top]

Report launch:
Using Play to help families learn: Evaluation of Trafford Hall's Playing 2 Learn Programme 2008 to 2011

Playing 2 Learn was a Big Lottery funded family learning programme using creative and practical activities to help parents and other carers to improve children’s learning abilities. The programme was open to families under stress from low-income communities across England. Based on the idea that ‘families are the first teachers’, the programme promoted play-based learning. The programme consisted of a series of 26 residential weekend events. The weekends were intended to enable families to spend quality time together away from their home environments engaging in a range of cheap and accessible play activities. Play activities were designed to be adaptable and replicable in home environments.

Trafford Hall, home of the National Communities Resource Centre (NCRC), is a national charity which supports low-income communities through training programmes, and is based near Chester in North West England. Trafford Hall organised and ran the programme, and provided the venue for the residential events. In the three years between 2008 and 2011, there were 26 residential weekend events with a total of 205 families attending - 795 individual family members participated.

Click here to download the evaluation of Playing to Learn (pdf) by Laura Lane and Liz Richardson.

News Posted: 04 October 2012      [Back to the Top]

The Big Society and concentrated neighbourhood problems
British Academy launch Anne Power's report on the Big Society

Anne Power’s paper for the British Academy New Paradigms series was published on 11th September 2012. ‘The Big Society and concentrated neighbourhood problems’ discusses the roots of the Big Society idea in early models of mutual aid, demonstrated in the UK’s industrial history and the American civil rights movement, as well as the historical role of community organisations in influencing government policy.

This paper has been covered by various news sources and Anne has contributed to the Guardian Voluntary Sector Network blog, Is the big society the answer to neighbourhood problems? as well as the LSE British Politics and Policy blog, The state has a key role in providing the framework for action and policies to ensure fairness on behalf of all its citizens.

You can download the paper for free here, or email for the PDF.

News Posted: 11 September 2012      [Back to the Top]

Special event: Property Before People - 25 Years On
A Celebration of Anne Power at LSE

On Monday 9th July 2012, over two hundred and fifty people gathered in the Old Theatre and Senior Common Room to celebrate the contribution of Professor Anne Power to the Department of Social Policy at LSE over the last twenty-five years.

Anne first joined the Department in 1981 as an academic visitor and became a full member in 1987, establishing an MSc and Diploma in Housing. Since then, Anne has given hundreds of lectures, contributed to many courses, chaired numerous seminars, and tutored around two thousand students at undergraduate, postgraduate and PhD level at LSE. Her wide-ranging research has included work on housing, cities, regeneration, low-income communities, race relations, crime, climate change and energy saving. In 1985 she was awarded a PhD on the history of council housing in Britain 1885-1985 and the emergence of unpopular estates, which was later published as Property Before People.

Anne’s significant contribution to the academic and research worlds, as well as her work with some of the most deprived communities in the UK and Europe, was recognised by an event comprising of an afternoon tea, symposium and reception. We invited four of Anne’s colleagues, leading experts in their fields, to discuss the changes in housing, cities, sustainability, regeneration and low-income communities during her membership of the Social Policy Department to date, as well as the position in 2012 and expectations for the future. Howard Glennerster, Professor of Social Policy at LSE, acted as chair.

Lord Richard Rogers of Riverside, an international architect and former chair of the Urban Task Force, of which Anne was a member, gave a personal account of their collaborative work on cities, in addition to the charity they founded together, the National Communities Resource Centre at Trafford Hall. He was followed by Professor Tim Jackson, a fellow former member of the Sustainable Development Commission, who spoke on sustainable development and particularly the recent Rio+20 summit. After Tim, David Robinson, founder of Community Links and chair of the Early Action Task Force, of which Anne is a member, discussed community action in relation to current economic circumstances, before Stella Creasy, MP for Walthamstow and one of Anne’s former PhD students, talked about low-income communities and the importance of involving residents. After questions, Anne spoke briefly to conclude the symposium, before guests enjoyed a reception.

It was a very special occasion for all involved, with guests travelling from as far as Israel, France and Denmark to be there. However, fear not – Anne isn’t retiring. As David Robinson said in his speech, she is simply entering her ‘middle age’!

News Posted: 09 July 2012      [Back to the Top]

LSE Housing and Communities launch new project at the House of Commons
Work with Elizabeth Finn Care on the legacy of the Olympics for Newham launched at an event in conjunction with Total Politics magazine.

LSE Housing and Communities introduced their exciting new project with the charity Elizabeth Finn Care at the House of Commons on Monday 2nd July.

This research, which aims to explore the impact and legacy of the Olympics for local residents in Newham, will continue into next year. The launch event was hosted by Stephen Timms, MP for East Ham and shadow employment minister, and he introduced Professor Anne Power, who is leading the research at LSE Housing and Communities. After Anne discussed Newham’s position now and the effect of the Olympics thus far; the Mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales, talked about the opportunities that the Games present for Newham in the future. This lively event was attended by several MPs, figures from Newham and other organisations.

Click here to read Total Politics’ write up.

News Posted: 02 July 2012      [Back to the Top]

CASE special event
The Changing Distribution of Wealth - half-day seminar

Wednesday 20th June 2012
The London School of Economics

This event presented results from different parts of CASE’s recent programme of research on the distribution of wealth in the UK, supported by the Nuffield Foundation and the Economic and Social Research Council.

Presentations from the event are now available here:

Where we are, how we got here and which inequalities matter (John Hills)
Wealth accumulation and house prices (Francesca Bastagli)
Inheritance and wealth inequality (Eleni Karagiannaki)
Parental wealth and wealth in young adulthood (Abigail McKnight)
Britain in international perspective: is Britain unusual? (Frank Cowell)
The current policy mix: inconsistent and inequitable? (John Hills)

Relevant papers include CASE papers 146-151

Thanks to the following for their contributions:

Howard Reed (Director, Landman Economics)
Professor Karen Rowlingson (CHASM, University of Birmingham)
Emeritus Professor Howard Glennerster (CASE/LSE)

And thanks also to chairs Julian Le Grand and Stephen Jenkins.


News Posted: 20 June 2012      [Back to the Top]

Report Launch
Trafford Hall's Training Evaluation

Housing Plus Think Tank 6: Supporting tenants into work

Housing Plus is about social landlords adopting a wider role in communities where they are based. The bedroom tax, benefit caps and other welfare reforms are having a dramatic impact on the lives of social housing tenants.

This workshop will explore why the problem of work now dominates, why public opinion has become hostile to supporting the unemployed, why social landlords need their tenants to work, and how they can achieve this.  By bringing together social landlords from all over the country who are trying out new ideas or are anxious to uncover more good ideas, we hope to uncover some solutions. Read the Think Tank summary and programme here.



News Posted: 12 June 2012      [Back to the Top]

Report Launch
Independent evaluation of the Community Futures programme

The Trafford Hall Community Futures capacity building initiative is an innovative, practical residential training and small-grants programme which aims to assist community volunteers in creating environmentally, economically and socially sustainable ‘community futures’. It does so by fusing local ingenuity with hands-on skills training to help low-income citizens throughout England and Wales overcome severe resource constraints, strengthen social cohesion and improve overall quality of life. The programme began in March 2010 and is developed and organised by Trafford Hall, home of the National Communities Resource Centre. It is funded entirely by The Tudor Trust.

An evaluation of the programme’s activities and impacts during its first 22 months by Eirene Chen (LSE Housing and Communities) can be downloaded here External Evaluation of the Community Futures programme (Adobe pdf)

News Posted: 11 June 2012      [Back to the Top]

Localised means-tests and student fees,
the end result can be overlapping systems that are complex, hard to compare, and have undesirable side-effects.

Recent work from John Hills and Ben Richards, CASE paper 160 examines the means-tested support which has been offered to English students applying to go to 52 universities from Autumn 2012. Designed partly to offset the rise in general fees to or towards £9,000, 27 of these universities are offering significant levels of means-tested support through bursaries or fee reductions depending on parental income. Using a common income definition, each university has designed its own system with widely varying criteria. Taken with the national maintenance grant system, these imply substantially different levels of support for students from lower and higher-income families.

John Hills discusses on LSE British Policy and Politics blog, the efforts to protect the poorest from some of the effects of the rise in fees, and how‘localised’ decision-making is leading to an increase in the numbers of means tests designed by lower level institutions. He suggest this is creating a very complex and varied approach to student financial support, with high effective marginal taxation rates for some families.

In New Statesman online Gavin Kelly (Resolution Foundation) queries whether this is a tax on aspiration. And in The Guardian online it's discussed how this could potentially undermine policies such as Universal Credit, which aim to simplify the social security system.

News Posted: 02 May 2012      [Back to the Top]

Falling poverty rates in inner London raise questions about inequality and segregation for a growing city in transition
Alex Fenton

Alex Fenton looks at what happened to poor neighbourhoods under New Labour in the 2000s, and argues that shifting rates in poverty fail to tell the whole story.

Full article available here from the British Politics and Policy at LSE blog

News Posted: 18 April 2012      [Back to the Top]

Final report of the Hills Fuel Poverty Review
Getting the Measure of Fuel Poverty


Professor John Hills today publishes the final report of his independent review of fuel poverty.  The review confirms that fuel poverty is a serious national problem and shows that it is set to rise rapidly.  It affects people with low incomes and energy costs above typical levels. It proposes a new way of measuring the problem, focused both on the number of people affected and the severity of the problem they face. Using the proposed measure:

  • Nearly 8 million people in England, within 2.7 million households, both had low incomes and faced high energy costs in 2009 (the most recent year with available data).  These households faced costs to keep warm that added up to £1.1 billion more than middle or higher income people with typical costs.
  • The review’s central projection is that this “fuel poverty gap” – already three-quarters higher than in 2003 – will rise by a further half, to £1.7 billion by 2016.
  • This means fuel poor households will face costs nearly £600 a year higher on average than better-off households with typical costs.

The report also argues that:

  • Fuel poverty exacerbates other hardship faced by those on low incomes, has serious health effects (including contributing to extra deaths every winter), and acts as a block to efforts to cut carbon emissions.
  • The current official way of measuring it, based on whether a household would need to spend more than 10 per cent of its income on energy, is flawed, giving a misleading impression of trends, excluding some affected by the problem at some times and including people with high incomes at others.
  • Interventions targeted on the core of the problem – especially those that improve the energy efficiency of homes lived in by people with low incomes – can make a substantial difference, but the impact of those planned to be in place by 2016 is only to reduce the problem by a tenth.

Professor Hills said:
There is no doubt that fuel poverty is a serious national problem – increasing hardship, contributing to winter deaths and other health problems, and blocking policies to combat climate change.  But the official measure has fed complacency at times and gloom about the impact of policies at others.
When one focuses on the core of the problem in the way I propose, the outlook is profoundly disappointing, with the scale of the problem heading to be nearly three times higher in 2016 – the date legislation set for its elimination – than in 2003.
But this daunting problem is one with solutions.  Our analysis shows that improving the housing of those at risk is the most cost-effective way of tackling the problem, cutting energy waste, with large long-term benefits to society as a whole.   We need a renewed and ambitious strategy to do this.

Copies of the final report, Getting the measure of fuel poverty, are available to download here and at:

For further media enquiries or to request a copy of the summary, contact LSE press office on 020 7955 7060 or at

News Posted: 15 March 2012      [Back to the Top]

CASE/new economics foundation special event
ABOUT TIME Examining the case for a shorter working week Public Lecture at the LSE

Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building, Lincoln's Inn Fields London WC2A 2AE
11 January 2012, 6.00-7.30 pm

As the economic crisis deepens, it is timely to consider the arguments for moving towards much shorter, more flexible paid working hours – sharing out jobs and unpaid time more fairly across the population. Following the new economics foundation’s highly-acclaimed report 21 Hours: Why a shorter working week can help us all to flourish in the 21st century, CASE and nef are bringing leading experts together to examine the social, environmental and economic implications. They will consider how far a shorter working week can help to address a range of urgent social, economic and environmental problems: unemployment, over-consumption, high carbon emissions, low well-being and entrenched inequalities. The event features:

  • Juliet Schor, Professor of Sociology at Boston College, and author of Plenitude: The New Economics of True Wealth, and The Overworked American;
  • Lord Robert Skidelsky, Emeritus Professor of Political Economy at the University of Warwick and biographer of J. M. Keynes, with Dr Edward Skidelsky, University of Exeter, and co-authors the forthcomingbook, How Much is Enough? Economics and the Good Life.
  • Tim Jackson, Professor of Sustainable Development at Surrey University, and author of Prosperity without Growth.

Save the date! This is a public lecture,  with places available to all on a first-come-first-served basis.  Please arrive early to guarantee your place.  Join us afterwards for a drinks reception at 7.30 pm.  

Any enquiries please email:

News Posted: 11 January 2012      [Back to the Top]