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Speaker(s): Iain Duncan Smith, Professor Anne Power, Professor Jane Waldfogel
Chair: Professor John Hills
Recorded on 1 December 2011 at Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building
The Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion tracked 200 families bringing up children in deprived neighbourhoods over ten years. The families told us a lot about their biggest worries and greatest needs. Streets and parks are unsafe; local facilities cost too much; energetic teenagers are not allowed to go further afield for fear of trouble so they often hang out on local streets. The thing families wanted most was for more for young people to do. Joblessness among low-skilled young people is extremely high in East London and other poor areas. Employers lose confidence and look for more highly qualified, more experienced and more privileged recruits, creating a vicious cycle for young people from troubled neighbourhoods. Families strive hard for their children, but young people need support.
Parents told us what helps most and what works best. They explained what pushes families over the brink. The riots this summer showed how fragile society’s hold is on community resilience, and how many parents fail to control or contain their young people. Most people brought to trial after the riots came from highly disadvantaged and fragmented urban communities.
Iain Duncan Smith, will talk about the importance of families to society; and explain how we can create better futures for our most disadvantaged children. Education, Sure Start for all ages, crime prevention, job training, outdoor space and youth activities all build community resilience.
Professor Anne Power and Professor Jane Waldfogel will respond.
Iain Duncan Smith has been Secretary of State for the UK’s Department for Work and Pensions since the 2010 General Election. He has served as MP for the Chingford and Woodford Green constituency since April 1992 and has held a number of roles in Government, including Leader of the Opposition when he led the Conservative Party from September 2001 until November 2003. In 2004, he subsequently founded the influential think tank, the Centre for Social Justice, which worked to develop innovative policies on tackling poverty and welfare reform. In his early career, Iain Duncan Smith served in the Scots Guards and worked with the General Electric Company.