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Labour’s Record on Neighbourhood Renewal in England: Policy, Spending and Outcomes 1997-2010

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  • Alex Fenton
  • Amanda Fitzgerald
  • Ruth Lupton
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    Abstract

    When he came to power in 1997, Tony Blair reacted to widening disparities between poorer and richer neighbourhoods by declaring that no one in future decades should be seriously disadvantaged by where they lived. This paper reviews the policies that Labour pursued and assesses how close it came to realising Blair's vision. It draws on speeches, policy documents, government website and evaluation reports, and on new analysis of administrative and survey data. We find that Labour's neighbourhood initial policy approach - the cross departmental National Strategy for Neighbourhood Renewal, with its 'floor targets' below which no neighbourhood should fall - was distinctive, although after 2007 there was a move away from this approach towards a narrower focus on economic regeneration, at large spatial scales, and on the reduction of worklessness. Evaluations report that the policies pursued represented value for money and there were trends towards positive outcomes. Physical environments and services got better during Labour's term in office - a direct result of the policies enacted. Gaps between poorer and richer areas also improved in many individual outcomes, although these cannot be so readily attributed to neighbourhood policy per se. All gaps remained large in 2010, suggesting that Blair's vision was not fully realised: which is, perhaps, not surprising in the context of sustained income inequalities.

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    Paper provided by Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, LSE in its series CASE Papers with number /177.

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    Date of creation: Oct 2013
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    Handle: RePEc:cep:sticas:/177

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    Web page: http://sticerd.lse.ac.uk/case/_new/publications/default.asp

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    Keywords: neighbourhood; regeneration; renewal; spatial; New Labour;

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    1. Scott Baum & Kathryn Arthurson & Kara Rickson, 2010. "Happy People in Mixed-up Places: The Association between the Degree and Type of Local Socioeconomic Mix and Expressions of Neighbourhood Satisfaction," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 47(3), pages 467-485, March.
    2. Christina Beatty & Stephen Fothergill, 2005. "The diversion from 'unemployment' to 'sickness' across British regions and districts," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(7), pages 837-854.
    3. Matthieu Permentier & Gideon Bolt & Maarten van Ham, 2011. "Determinants of Neighbourhood Satisfaction and Perception of Neighbourhood Reputation," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 48(5), pages 977-996, April.
    4. Diane Perrons & Sophia Skyers, 2003. "Empowerment Through Participation? Conceptual Explorations and A Case Study," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(2), pages 265-285, 06.
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