LSE researchers are today launching a major new programme of work to report on the impact of the recession, spending changes and the government's social policy reforms on inequality and poverty in the UK.
The Nuffield Foundation, Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Trust for London have combined to fund the work, which will be carried out by a team of researchers at the LSE's Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion (CASE).
CASE has already produced two books on poverty and inequality under the Labour government up to 2007, and its Director Professor John Hills was chair of the National Equality Panel which produced an Anatomy of Economic Inequality in the UK, reporting mainly on the situation up to 2008.
These studies revealed a complex picture. In some respects, Britain became a more "equal" society under Labour. Child and pensioner poverty fell, educational inequalities were reduced, and the gaps in outcomes between richer and poorer areas narrowed. However, poverty for working age adults without children increased, health inequalities widened, and income gaps between the very top and very bottom of the distribution got larger. Progress in many areas seemed to stall after 2004.
This new work will take place over the period leading up to the next scheduled general election in May 2015 and will look back to the last three years of the Labour government as well as forward.
Among other things, it will provide a comprehensive overview of social policy changes and public spending patterns, their differing impacts on different groups, and how the increase in localism has affected regional ine-qualities and the north/ south divide. It will also document how the overall distributions of income and wealth have been affected by the recession, spending cuts and changing policy.
The research team will examine the Coalition government's record in relation to its own claims to extend equality of opportunity and increase social mobility.
Sharon Witherspoon MBE, Deputy Director of the Nuffield Foundation said "At a time when government departments are facing large cuts in research capacity, we are delighted to be funding LSE to do this work. It will be invaluable in providing robust, independent evidence that can inform policy-making and public debate in the coming years."
Initial reports will start to become available late in 2012 and early in 2013, via CASE's website (http://sticerd.lse.ac.uk/case/).
Enquiries should be directed to the programme director Dr Ruth Lupton (020 7849 4910, email@example.com)
Note to Editors:
CASE's previous two books on poverty and inequality under Labour are:
Hills, J., Sefton, T. and Stewart, K. (eds.) (2009) Towards A More Equal Society?: Poverty, inequality and policy since 1997. Bristol: The Policy Press.
Hills, J. and Stewart, K. (eds.) (2005) A More Equal Society? New Labour, Poverty, Inequality and Exclusion. Bristol: The Policy Press.
21 October 2011