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Assessing policy towards poverty

Funded by: The Joseph Rowntree Foundation

Contact: John Hills, Tom Sefton and Kitty Stewart

By 2009 Labour will be near completion of a third, possibly final, term in office. Since its election in 1997, the Government has implemented a series of policies designed to meet sometimes ambitious targets for reducing poverty and social exclusion. In 2003-4, the Foundation funded a team based at LSE to assess the success of these policies. The resulting book - A More Equal Society? New Labour, poverty, inequality and exclusion (published by the Policy Press in 2005) - has been widely read and extensively used by policy-makers and others.

The new project will build on and extend the earlier research to provide an integrated independent assessment of policy towards poverty and social exclusion stretching back more than ten years. This will involve a combination of original research, and bringing together the results of available evaluations and evidence on particular aspects of policy carried out by others. We will update the central areas we covered before, but plan to include new areas and issues, such as policy and outcomes for disabled people, migrants, and young people, and changes in gender inequalities. In particular, we will give detailed consideration to differences in policy and outcomes between the devolved administrations. The ultimate aim is a considered assessment of the long term legacy that New Labour - in its original form, at least - leaves behind.

The exercise will involve a wide range of sources, combining use of: CASE's own continuing research in particular areas (such as within low-income neighbourhoods); secondary analysis of existing large-scale datasets; and synthesis of external academic research and official evaluations and assessments of policies and outcomes in our areas of interest. It will involve original analysis of government or household survey data alongside evidence from other academic sources and published government reports.

Others in the research team are Tania Burchardt, Maria Evandrou, Jane Falkingham, Ruth Lupton, Abigail McKnight, Coretta Phillips, Anne Power, Jill Rutter, Franco Sassi, Holly Sutherland, and Polly Vizard.