Social Policy in a Cold Climate
Social Policy in a Cold Climate is a programme of research being undertaken by a team at the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion (CASE) at the LSE. It is designed to examine the effects of the major economic and political changes in the UK since 2007, particularly their impact on the distribution of wealth, poverty, inequality and social mobility. Researchers will also examine geographical variations in policy, spending, outputs and outcomes, with a particular focus on London. The analysis includes policies and spending decisions from the last period of the Labour government (2007-2010), including the beginning of the financial crisis, as well as those made by the Coalition government since May 2010.
The programme will conclude in 2015, with publication of a final volume. Interim reports will be published in 2013/14, and made available online at http://sticerd.lse.ac.uk/case.
Social Policy in a Cold Climate is funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the Nuffield Foundation, with London-specific analysis funded by the Trust for London. The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the funders.
The work is quantitative in nature, and covers four themes:
- analysis of social policy and public spending changes and their direct results. We will focus on four main areas of policy: personal taxation and social security (including pensions and employment policy), early years policy, education, health and social care.
- broader assessment of the overall distribution of economic outcomes, identifying groups who have gained and lost over different periods. This will build on and compared with the baseline Anatomy of Economic Inequality in the UK produced by the National Equality Panel which covered the period up to the recession in 2008
- new work using longitudinal studies on trends in social mobility and the impact of policy on access to opportunity, particularly in education and the early years;
- spatial analysis both of policy and spending and of outcomes in order to understand how the geography of poverty, inequality and opportunity is being shaped in the current economic and political climate. We will look at different spatial scales from countries to neighbourhoods. We will apply a spatial lens to our analysis of policy, spending and outcomes in the policy areas specified in Theme 1, and also to the analysis of economic outcomes in Theme 2. We will also examine the impact of 'localism' in additional policy areas (to be decided but could include, for example housing and planning and school education)
This is a long term and large scale programme and the research team will be keen to hear from and cooperate with other groups working on similar issues. Interim reports will be produced and events will be held throughout the programme with a final report in time to inform public policy debate before the next scheduled general election in May 2015.
Alongside the national research programme, Trust for London is also funding a parallel study to examine how London compares with the rest of the UK and at changing patterns within the capital. This will provide a robust, independent, and authoritative basis for public comment and debate on the situation in London in the coming years. It will include case studies of specific local authorities taking different approaches to spending cuts and service provision, to show how these impact on the poorest neighbourhoods and on particular groups of Londoners.
The research will take place over the period October 2011 to May 2015. Initial reports will start to become available late in 2012 and early in 2013, via CASE's website.
To find out more, please contact the programme director, Dr Ruth Lupton.
Trust for London staff leads: Rachael Takens-Milne and Bharat Mehta