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August 24, 2016

Same old conclusions

A somewhat depressing piece of research just published by Joseph Rowntree Foundation. Depressing on two counts. Firstly because it highlights that so little progress has been made despite all the regeneration and anti-poverty investment in terms of improving the lives of those living in the most disadvantaged communities. And secondly because it still seems to be worth pointing out that the benefits of economic success from the wider regions never (repeat never) trickle down to the poorest areas. When will we learn?



 Summary report and key findings

The poorest areas of towns and cities do not always benefit from periods of economic growth in their wider regions. In some important ways, they can remain disconnected from the prosperity experienced by residents of wealthier neighbourhoods. This research looks at these issues from the perspective of housing and labour market interactions in the UK’s most deprived neighbourhoods. It finds that there is a need to reconnect economic growth strategies with poverty alleviation initiatives. The research is based on an analysis of neighbourhoods across the UK that are in the 20 per cent most deprived in each nation’s most recent deprivation indices.

Key points

 • Not all ‘deprived’ areas are the same: there is a great deal of diversity across the UK.

 • In some areas, there has been a tendency for conditions to worsen over time.

 • Local jobs do not mean local employment for residents of deprived areas – in many poorer areas jobs are filled by residents from more prosperous areas.

 • Some areas experience ‘double disconnection’; they are not well connected to jobs or housing in their cities – there are 524 of these areas across the UK.

 • The geography of poverty matters. There is often a mismatch between where people live and where jobs are located.

• Skills also matter: sometimes skills, and not geography, are the main barrier to employment.

• Successive waves of area-based urban policies have helped some areas, but they cannot ‘solve’ the problem alone – wider poverty alleviation strategies are needed.


 • Inclusive growth strategies which address poverty and economic growth in combination may offer a way forward.