Category Archives: Social Policy

Tory budget set to hit poorest the hardest

The forthcoming proposed Tory budget, combined with measures introduced in the last months of the Labour party – hit the poor hardest and are likely to increase inquality.

_48863679_ifs_gra_304If you believe Richard Wilkinson’s ‘The Spirit Level’, then inequality matters, because a whole host of social problems – from depression to crime – are correlated with the degree of inequality in society.

The exception is, of course, that the wealthiest ten percent lose out more than those in the middle – but it seams that it’s the poorest who are hit the hardest…

See this BBC report for more details

If you check out the graphic outside the room of P104 you will see that inequality increased massively under Thathcher, continued under New Labour, and the increase looks set to carry on into the future!

Web Site of the Week – The Bristol Centre for Market and Public Organisation

I was just clearing up my desktop and stumbled across a document with a link to this organsiation – The Bristol Centre for Market and Public Organisation funded by the ESRC – they do podcasts! (one day soon that won’t seem like such a novelty).

The things they research are of direct relevance to the AS family and education modules, research methods and A2 social policy – See also the link below for details of research by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation that forms the background of this research project (2009)

Some of the key points –

The poorest fifth of children score, on average, 14 percentile points lower than the middle fifth of children in Key Stage 2 tests at age 11, and 31 percentile points lower than the richest fifth.

Lack of economic resources is not the only thing that matters for disadvantaged children. Together the levels of parental education, demographic characteristics like family size and structure, and the characteristics of the schools attended by the poorest fifth can explain 60 to 70% of their educational deficits at Key Stage 2.

How dressing as a giant banana may reduce littering

NB – I’m moving most of the material on here to my new site – – check it out for everything related to AS and A level Sociology

Lord knows its hard to find interesting articles on Social Policy – but this fits the bill –  part of the article talks about how the London Borough of Southwark (from 2004) adopted the policy of ‘stalking litter’ – hiring people to dress as giant bananas and other ‘commonly found items of litter’ to create scenes around town such as applauding people who put their rubbish in the bin – the theory being that we are more likely to change our actions (in this case stopping littering) if we are subjected to frivolous and unusual stimulae.

You might like to think about how effective this is as a means of reducing minor crimes and how generaliseable it is to more serious crimes.. You might also like to use the freedom of information act to find out how much money they actually spent on their banana actors….