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"Words fly, but scripts stay - for centuries." English
 

Bristol Mayor: Quick way to address the lack of BME workforce representation is to “kill an awful lot of white men”

In response to a question from Cllr Afzal Shah, Labour, Easton Ward, about the imbalance of BME workforce representation at the council, Bristol Mayor George Ferguson said that a quick quick way is to “kill an awful lot of white men – but that isn’t a very practical solution”.

 

Read below to understand the councillor’s main question:

Cllr Afzal Shah: BME Make-up of Bristol City Council

According to Bristol City Council’s own figures, the make-up of the existing workforce demonstrates a comparative lack of diversity.

BME managers by directorate as at March 2015:

  • Business Change and City Director – 6.41%
  • Neighbourhoods – 4.86%
  • People – 6.33%
  • Place – 5.33%

What action is the council taking to rectify the imbalance of BME representation of senior officers in post at Bristol City Council to fully reflect the diversity of the city of Bristol and support the Council’s claim of being an equal opportunity employer and can I also ask for the City Director to take action in this regard?

Bristol Mayor George Ferguson:

  • I am supporting the Race Equality Manifesto for the City with whom I have been working closely.
  • The Council is currently establishing a Corporate Equalities Group, which will take the lead in ensuring that our workforce at all levels reflects Bristol’s diversity. This new group will be chaired by a Strategic Director, and will be made up of representatives from across the Council, including from the new Staff-Led Groups for BME, Disabled, LGBT and Young employees. The first meeting of the new group is being arranging for the autumn.
  • We are also promoting staff led groups for all of the equalities protected characteristic groups including BME employees.
  • The quick quick way is to kill an awful lot of white men, but that isn’t a very practical solution.

Cllr Afzal Shah: As an equal opportunities employer, how do these figures stack-up with other Core Cities?

Bristol Mayor George Ferguson:

  • It is a comparison we should make and I will look into that comparison as part of this process.
  • I don’t think it is a matter of whether we are better or worse than other Core Cities. I think the more the Council’s staff and elected members reflect the nature of our population the better we serve that population.

@smgbristol

Maareeyaha shaqada adduunyada ugu adag

Ma ladeehay aqoon, xirfad, khibrad iyo karti dheeraad ah oo aad ku maareyso shaqada adduunyada ugu adag, uguna muhiimsan?

Shirkad la yidhaahdo Rehtom Inc waxay shaqaaleynaysaa Maareeye Guud. Waxyaabaha lagaaga baahanyahay inaad haysato ama khibradda u leedahay iyo waxa aad qaban doonto waxa ka mid ah:

  •  Taagni baad ku shaqaynaysaa (marnaba ma fadhiisanaysid)
  • Marwalba dadaal dheeraad ah ayaa lagaaga baahanyahay
  • Toddobaad kasta waxaad shaqeynaysaa in ka badan 135 saacadood, waana inaad diyaar u tahay inaad shaqayso 24/7
  • Waa inaad haysataa shahaadooyin heer jaamacadeed ah oo ay ka mid yihiin dhakhtarnimo (medicine), maamulka iyo iyo maareynta dhaqaalaha (finance) iyo xirfadaha cunto karinta (culinary arts)
  • Wax fasax ah ma lihid. Sannadkoo dhan waad shaqaynaysaa, xitaa iidaha iyo maalmaha kale ee dadku ay fasaxa yihiin
  • Mushaharkuna waa $0.00

Dhowr toddobaad ka hor waxa internetka iyo jaraa’idka lagu xayeysiiyay shaqo muhiim ah oo ay akhriyeen ama eegeen in ka badan 2.7 milyan oo qof, laakiin waxa soo codsaday 24 qof oo keliya.

Imtixaanadii (interviews) laga qaaday iyo natiijadii cajaa’ibka ahayd ee ka soo baxday halkan hoose ka daawo

@smgbristol

More than a bus pass is needed to secure employment

(BSMG – Liban Obsiye) Most asylum seekers in the UK are generally happy to receive the right to remain and live in the UK in some form or other from a very target driven Home Office, which has the dual contradictory role of protecting UK borders as well assessing individual claims for asylum. However, instead of waking up to a benefits feast at the expense of the indigenous British hardworking general population, if you read your misinformed right wing papers that is, they open their eyes confused and destitute. Where they do find employment, they are a net contributor to the UK economy and do some of the most undesirable yet necessary jobs in Britain such as cleaning. Continue reading

Having a job: the best defence against social exclusion?

 One year on from the devastating and destructive London riots, it appears as though things are getting worse as the economy is still unable to provide the opportunities young people need to escape poverty in some of the most deprived neighbourhoods in the UK. BSMG to commemorate the first anniversary of the riots publishes an academic essay exploring the root causes of social exclusion which ignited into a near week of terror across major UK cities. An antidote for all of today’s young people’s ills is seen as employment but is this enough for the creation of an inclusive society today? We do not think so.

(BSMGLiban Obsiye) This essay will discuss whether, as the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair argued, “the best defence against social exclusion (SE) is having a job” by looking at what SE is first and then deciding if merely having a job leads to inclusion. The essay will show that while employment is an important indicator of social inclusion, it is not the only factor that determines exclusion in a society. The essay will demonstrate this through theory and a focus on youth, employment and social exclusion to further illustrate it.

The term SE was not part of New Labour policy until Peter Mandelson, a prominent cabinet member, mentioned it in a speech to the Fabian Society in 1997 (Levitas, 1998) where he announced that the Prime Minister wanted to set up a unit dedicated to it. To him SE meant “more than poverty and unemployment” (Mandelson, 1997, cited in Levitas 1998). It was about some individuals and groups within society such as lone parents, the unemployed, the disabled and the homeless who were at high risk of suffering isolation from what most regarded as a normal life. Unlike the Thatcher government before them who considered such groups to be the underclass, New Labour would call these groups socially excluded and set about helping them in their inclusion because as Mandelson argued they were the “growing number of our fellow citizens who lack the means, material and otherwise, to participate in economic, social, cultural and political life in Britain.”In an effort to make SE a priority, Blair’s government set up the Social Exclusion Unit (SEU) in 1997 with the purpose of working across government to find a joined up solution to tackling the problem.

Despite the comparatively short time the term SE has been used in the UK, it originated in Republican France where it was used to refer to the breakdown of relationship between individuals and the society (Silver, 1994, p.532). The term is attributed to Rene Lenoir who was in 1974 a Minister in the French government for Social Action and who at the time was concerned for the welfare of those citizens who were excluded from society as a result of poverty and other factors such as disability and mental illness. This early French approach was aimed at creating a “more personalized, participatory welfare state” which rested on the principles of social cohesion, sharing and integration (Silver, 1994, p.533). In direct contrast to the traditional Anglo Saxon thinking and attitudes towards poverty based on individualism and the notion of the deserving and undeserving poor, SE in Republican France was seen as weakening the desired social solidarity. Hence, it was the State that was expected to play a major role in tackling it (Bhalla and Lapeyre, 1997, pp.414-15). In the UK SE discourse draws on Peter Townsends work and ideas. He argued in 1979 that “a proper understanding of poverty should not be limited to questions of subsistence, but should incorporate people’s inability to participate in customary life of society” (Townsend, 1979, cited in, Pantazis et al, 2006, p.124). However, despite the need for a clear workable definition for policy measures to be targeted more effectively, SE has no single definition. Definitions have been offered on international, regional, national and even local levels but the department set up in the UK to tackle and address SE, the SEU, defined it as:

“a shorthand term for what can happen when people or areas face a combination of linked problems such as unemployment, discrimination, poor skills, low incomes, poor housing, high crime, bad health and family breakdown (SEU, 2004, p.13).”

The SEU adds that SE is complex and, multi dimensional and intergenerational. They acknowledge that SE, while including poverty and low income is broader and “encompasses some of the wider causes and consequences of deprivation (ibid). This incite, whilst broadly accurate is surprising, given that their definition comprises little more than a simple list of negative outcomes, excluding any reference to the underlying social processes behind SE.

The major weakness of this definition is that it does not recognise SE as a process with a social cause and instead it focuses on individual characteristics of the affected. This was best summarised by Fairclough (2004: 54) who argued that “In the language of New Labour social exclusion is an outcome rather than a process- it is a condition people are in rather than something that is done to them”. A more valid, representative and operational definition of SE for the purposes of genuine and targeted policy making is:

Social exclusion is a complex and multi-dimensional process. It involves the lack or denial of resources, rights, goods and services, and the inability to participate in the normal relationships and activities, available to the majority of people in a society, whether in economic, social, cultural or political arenas. It affects both the quality of life of individuals and the equity and cohesion of society as a whole” (Levitas et al., 2007).”

This definition is better than that offered by the SEU because it recognises that SE is a process and it can arise out of lack of resources and participation, economic and otherwise. It is also aligned with the original French Republican and Townsend concerns of individual and wider societal impact of exclusion on some of its members which can weaken social solidarity and create great inequality.

SE can be distinguished from Poverty as the latter is primarily focused on distributional issues, the lack of resource at the disposal of an individual or household. However, SE is wider and focuses on relational issues such as inadequate social participation, lack of social integration and power (Taylor, 2003, p.68). Furthermore, it takes the focus away from individual responsibility and failings which form the basis of policy under the traditional Anglo Saxon welfare model and transfers responsibility to the State and society.

The definitions and interpretation attached to SE varies and this is because it is not a politically neutral term. Analysis of SE under New Labour by Levitas (1998, p.7) produced three discourses. They were Redistributive discourse (RED), Social integrationist discourse (SID) and Moral Underclass discourse (MUD).  The socially excluded under each discourse was missing something that excluded them. In RED they were lacking money, in SID work and MUD the morals and values widely shared in society that would have allowed them to join the mainstream. RED focuses on tackling poverty through social redistribution and the creation of a strong welfare state as poverty which it sees as leading to SE is an obstacle to full citizenship. MUD which is rooted in neo-conservatism is opposed to RED as it sees poverty as an individual failing and any of the support RED could provide as the creation of dependency and an underclass. Levitas shows that SID is the one which is most prevalent in New Labour’s response to SE and it continues to be under the new Coalition government (with some mixture of MUD influences) as it is based on the idea of inclusion through employment.

Work can be the best defence against SE as Blair argued and his administration saw unemployment and low income as one of the most important causes of SE and their welfare to work programme was established around the principle of “Work for those who can, help for those who cannot” (SEU, 2004). Clearly the guiding principle shows that Blair understood some of the criticism of SID and promised to help rather than vilify those who could not work for whatever reason and those who could would be provided with and supported into employment. To facilitate the success of the strategy New Labour introduced the New Deal which helped disadvantaged groups into work through the provision of training and this coupled with past and new legislation preventing all types of discrimination arguably created the right environment for work seekers. New Labour also wanted to make work pay and to ensure this they introduced the mandatory minimum wage and working tax credits which provided a minimum guaranteed income for low earners (SEU, 2004, P.9). Through investment in education and skills training Blair also promised to help integrate workers into the knowledge economy (Blair, 2000). However, the New Deals success was hampered by the offering of only basic vocational training and skills as well as the majority of jobs people been helped into been entry level jobs which many were overqualified for (Toynbee and Walker, 2008, p.15-60).

The centrality of employment to Britain’s approach to creating an inclusive society is illustrated in the indicators of social exclusion as the cornerstone of inclusion is labour market participation (Opportunity for all Indicators, 2007). However, it is hard to dispute that unemployment is a strong driver of SE and employment would help to tackle it to an extent. Unemployment has key life long affects that can create greater SE and poverty for individuals such as ill health and poor prospects of better earnings in the future as a result of a lack of work experience (SEU, 2004, p.32). Unemployment can also lead to family breakdown, debt and community destabilisation as areas with high unemployment experience higher crime rates and increased consumer prices as the mainstream retailers are not attracted to areas where people cannot spend (Young, 2000, p.105-110). Levitas argues (1998, p50-69) one of the architects of New Labours Third Way (middle ground between old left and new Right) was Will Hutton who was of the staunch belief that work gave one identity and that it was “the most effective instrument for bringing the marginalised back into the fold” (Hutton, 1995, p.24). Findings from the Millennium survey (2006, p.169-71) confirmed Hutton’s believes to this extent as it also found that both men and women gain from work and that “individuals in work have lower poverty rates than those not in work and full time workers have lower poverty rates than part time workers.” The obvious message from all this evidence is that Blair was right to an extent because employment is a good defence against SE. However, to assume that employment alone can defend against SE would be to make the mistake of narrowly interpreting inclusion on shaky economic grounds.

New Labour may have introduced incentives such as the Working Tax credits, Minimum wage, the New Deal and Sure Start to facilitate the success of their employment programme but what they moved away from under SID was any attempt to look at income inequality which was creating a very unequal society where what you did and how much you earned determined future prospects, power and inevitably, genuine inclusion (Wilkinson and Pickett, 2009). The mantra of equality of opportunity through better education, training and skills providing a fair playing field for all to compete over the more plausible notion of redistribution, is a clear indication that Blair’s administration did not understand the real drivers of SE and as such his employment diagnosis is nothing more than a plaster over many bullet wounds. There also is very little value given to unpaid work which contributes to the success, to the tune of billions a year, of the UK economy through activities like house work, child rearing and voluntary sector advice to individuals and families on many issues. Charles Tilly (1999, p.24) rightfully argued that inequality under capitalism focuses on wages, something that is easy to quantify. However, what is neglected is “wealth, health, nutrition, power, deference, privilege, security and other zones of inequality that in the long run matter more to well being than wages do” and this is supported by Wilkinson and Pickett’s (2009) findings on all these topics.

Employment is a good predictor of other outcomes that could lead to SE but it on its own cannot be seen as SE as the term “allows us to consider the interrelationship between social, economic and political exclusion” (Taylor, p.67). Inclusion requires full political, economical and social integration which is underpinned by equality, not equality of opportunity, as this cannot exist without there been equality first. SEN (2001) rightfully said:

“Inclusion is characterized by a society’s widely shared social experience and active participation, by a broad equality of opportunities and life chances for individuals and by the achievement of a basic level of well-being for all citizens.”

What’s difficult to ignore is that jobs do not bring the better education, services and more democratic engagement and involvement in civil society characteristic of true inclusion. Some elites may earn enough and have the time to be engaged but this is not the case for the majority. There are times when work actually excludes as many workers today coupled with the changing family demographics, volatile employment shifts and lower wages, have to work longer hours to financially manage. This prevents them from building and sustaining crucial social capital and network ties that assists them as well as engages them in social activities which can strengthen community and social solidarity (Rossenvallon, 1995, p.209). Tackling SE requires structural change and direct action from the centre in the form of better social services, transport and education as exclusion “is exclusion from participation in economic, political, social or cultural systems” (Levitas, 1998, pp.170-77).

SE is costly for all. However, the European Union and New Labour have given great attention to youth exclusion which again was focused on labour market participation. It was so important that the SEU wrote three reports on different issues regarding young people and SE and as recently as this year it was blamed for been the underlying cause of the London summer riots by social policy experts (Guardian, 2011). High youth unemployment is a European Union wide headache for policy makers but UK youth unemployment (those between the ages of 16-25) currently stands at 1.04 million which equates to 22.5% of this group (Guardian, 2012). With the devastating cost of unemployment particularly on this group, employment would be a very strong defence against their current and future SE.

Specifically on the issue of youth and SE, the then Prime Minister of Britain Tony Blair, argued that the best defence against it was having a job and “the best way to get a job is to have a good education, with the right training and experience” (SEU, 1999). He went on to claim that 161,000 young people aged between 16-18 years of age are not in education, employment or training (NEET) and the consequences of this would be “lower pay and worse job prospects in later life.” His government he stated was going to provide this group with the better support services and financial incentives they needed to remain in post 16 education. He warned that in an age of knowledge economy there will be limited unskilled jobs and in order to not be left behind, young people needed to be trained and educated to integrate themselves into the new labour market. Blair’s message was that by being better educated and employed people would be able to prosper themselves and contribute positively to society.

To assist the young to remain in education, as promised by Blair, there was until it was scrapped this year by the Coalition government, the Education Maintenance allowance which gave a sum of money up to £30 a week to under privileged students staying on in education and as a result there was a huge rise in the number of young people attending university or further study courses in college. The Connexions service was set up to advice 13-25 years olds on education, training, courses and careers. Connexion personal adviser’s work with young people within the stated age group both in schools and outside and the whole purpose is to ensure that they are advised and prepared for the world of work as this is the main route out of SE for them (Guardian, 2010).

In the midst of one of the deepest recessions globally, youth unemployment despite all the above measures has gone up and continues to climb. Both New Labour under Blair and his successor Brown as well as the current coalition leadership have attempted to address youth unemployment through the provision of work experience with the idea that firms will take younger workers, train them and keep them on after.  Under Labour it was the Future Jobs Fund which was a scheme created to assist young people back into work by giving employers financial incentives for creating a job that lasts for at least 6 months (BBC, 2011). However, this has been called a waste of time and scrapped by the leader of the new coalition government David Cameron who replaced this scheme with unpaid work experience aimed providing young people with skills to find employment while still claiming full benefits. However, despite limping on, this policy has been discredited as many business partners have pulled out of the scheme for fear of reputational damage as activists have mobilised against this exploitation (Daily Telegraph, 2012). More worryingly, there appears to be differing levels of labour market exclusion within the youth group as those with degrees and other forms of higher education are now settling into jobs traditionally filled by those with no or limited qualifications (Economist, 2012).

If indeed work alone was to help tackle youth SE, both work experience and widely available jobs would be a necessary requirement for progress. However, with globalisation and free movement of workers within the European Union creating greater competition and sustaining low wages for whatever employment that is left young people are considerably disadvantaged.

Even if full youth employment was achievable, would it be the case that youth inclusion would follow? Maybe in eyes of those whose interpretation are limited only to the labour market but in the wider meaning of the term employment is not enough to tackle exclusion in any group.

The British Millennium survey (2006) found that despite the minimum wage young people still earned less than their older counterparts and despite having different service priorities to the older respondents they felt dissatisfied with what was available because it did not address their needs. Despite having stronger social relations with friends and family, nearly half of the young people were unable to go on a yearly holiday compared to 17% from the older groups. What also came out of the survey was that young people are less likely to participate in civic and community events. However, the survey does acknowledge a slight weakness in that it agrees that they maybe involved in unstructured collective engagement which it cannot measure or get at and this maybe because of the rise in new media such as twitter, face book and others which no longer needs physical engagement for communication.

Youth SE is wider than just employment as the term itself can be seen as a “state of incomplete citizenship arising from a range of exclusionary mechanisms” which is not limited to economic marginalisation (Gore, 1995). Like adults, in order to be fully included in society socially, economically and politically there needs to be a greater commitment to equality and wealth redistribution, fairer, better resourced education and listening to the young people and including them in the political process rather than imposing from the top as the European Union envisaged but has failed to deliver on (Commission of the European Communities, 2001b). This would lead to complete youth citizenship and inclusion. Furthermore, the youth are not a homogenous group as within the youth there are those as Pierre Bordieu (1976) argued, who have both the cultural and social capital which supports a good education and as a result enter and sustain well paid employment.  Even without education, the wealthier and professionally socially connected young are able get access to training and employment schemes which firstly is subsidised economically by parents and secondly with their social contacts and within their class networks (Guardian, 2011). With the cap to public benefits for housing, social care, free leisure facilities such as libraries and subsidised swimming pools and the raising of university tuition fees to up to £9,000 a year, even full employment on the minimum wage may not be able to tackle the real SE of the young today.

Blair was partially right as meaningful employment, widely available, with real training, regard for individual ambition, prospects and a living wage would be a good defence against SE. The New Deal did not deliver any of these and nor will the current disgraced workfare under the coalition government. As the private sector contracts, the government needs to start providing the training and jobs required for creating full employment if it is even serious about jobs been a defence against SE.  However, inclusion requires a genuine commitment to equality and full public participation in all aspects of society. Perhaps exclusion has become intergenerational because of poor policy making from the centre which has very little regard for the concerns and ideas of those the policy is supposedly formulated to help. Only through better political and social inclusion can real economic inclusion and inevitably full inclusion and equality ever be achieved in Britain.

References

  1. Levitas, R. (1998) The Inclusive society? Social Exclusion and New Labour. London: Macmillan.
  2. Silver, H. (1994) Social Exclusion and social solidarity, International Labour Review, 133 (5-6): 531-78
  3. Ibid
  4. Bhalla A, Lapeyre F (1997) Social Exclusion: Towards an analytical and operational Framework, Development and Change, 28;413-43.
  5. Pantazis, C. , Gordon, D. & Levitas, R. (2006) Poverty and social exclusion in Britain: The millennium survey. Bristol: Policy Press.
  6. Social Exclusion Unit (SEU) (2004) Breaking the Cycle: Taking stock of progress and priorities for the future: London, Stationary Office, page 13.
  7. ibid
  8. Fairclough, N. (2000) New Labour, New Language, London: Routledge (accessed from University of Bristol lecture handout, 2012).
  9. Levitas, R. Pantazis, C., Fahmy, E., Gordon, D.,Lloys, E., & Patsisos,D. (2007). The multidimensional Analysis of Social Exclusion. Report to the Social Exclusion Task Force. University of Bristol.  Accessed through: http://www.familieslink.co.uk/download/july07/The%20Multidimensional%20Analysis%20of%20Social%20Exclusion.pdf
  10. Levitas, R. Pantazis, C., Fahmy, E., Gordon, D.,Lloys, E., & Patsisos,D. (2007). The multidimensional Analysis of Social Exclusion. Report to the Social Exclusion Task Force. University of Bristol.  Accessed through: http://www.familieslink.co.uk/download/july07/The%20Multidimensional%20Analysis%20of%20Social%20Exclusion.pdf
  11. Taylor, M. (2003) Public policy in the community. Hampshire, Palgrave MacMillan, P. 68.
  12. Levitas, R. (1998) The Inclusive society? Social Exclusion and New Labour. London: Macmillan.
  13. Social Exclusion Unit (SEU) (2004) Breaking the Cycle: Taking stock of progress and priorities for the future: London, Stationary Office.
  14. Social Exclusion Unit (SEU) (2004) Breaking the Cycle: Taking stock of progress and priorities for the future: London, Stationary Office, page 9.
  15. Tony Blair speech in the Knowledge 2000 conference. Accessed through: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2000/mar/07/tonyblair
  16. Tonybee, P., Walker, D. Unjust Rewards, London: Granta Books, chapter 9.
  17. UK opportunity for all indicators, 2007 accessed through: http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/opportunityforall2007.pdf
  18. Social Exclusion Unit (SEU) (2004) The drivers of Social Exclusion. London: Stationary Office, p.32.
  19. Young, P. (2000) Mastering Social Welfare, London: Macmillan
  20. Hutton, Will., (1995)The State we’re in, London:  Jonathan Cape cited in: Levitas, R. (1998) The Inclusive society? Social Exclusion and New Labour. London: Macmillan, pages 50-69.
  21. Pantazis, C. Gordon, D. & Levitas, R. (2006) Poverty and social exclusion in Britain: The millennium survey. Bristol: Policy Press.
  22. Wilkinson, R., and Pickett, K. (2009) The Spirit Level. London: Penguin.
  23. Tilly, C. (1999) Durable inequality, Berkeley: University of California Press, cited in: Taylor, M. (2003) Public policy in the community. Hampshire, Palgrave MacMillan, P. 67.
  24. Ibid

25. Sen, Amartya. Development as freedom (2000) Oxford University Press, England.

26. Rossenvallon, P. (1995) The decline of social visibility, cited in: Taylor, M. (2003) Public policy in the community. Hampshire, Palgrave MacMillan, P. 78

27. Levitas, R. (1998) The Inclusive society? Social Exclusion and New Labour. London: Macmillan, Pages 170-77.

28. Looting “fuelled by Social Exclusion” Guardian News paper, 08th August 2011 – Accessed from: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/aug/08/looting-fuelled-by-social-exclusion

29. Employment statistics, Guardian Newspaper, accessed 21/04/2012 at:

30. http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2010/nov/17/unemployment-and-employment-statistics-economics

31. Social Exclusion Unit (1999) Bridging the gap: New opportunities for 16-18 olds not in education, employment or training, London: Stationary Office – Accessed through: http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/+/http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/media/cabinetoffice/social_exclusion_task_force/assets/publications_1997_to_2006/bridging_gap.pdf

32. Deidre Hughes, “Connexions cuts who will advice young people?” Guardian newspaper, 3rd August 2010. Accessed from:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2010/aug/03/connexions-cuts-advice-young-people

33. Lila Allen, BBC news online (2011) Future Jobs Fund “abandons” young people. Accessed through: http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/12771694

34. Matthew D’Ancona, Workfare provides a ladder of hope from despair to dignity, 25TH February 2012. Accessed from:  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/conservative/9105319/Workfare-provides-a-ladder-of-hope-from-despair-to-dignity.html

35. The Economist Magazine, March 2012: Room at the bottom, page 37.

36. Pantazis, C. Gordon, D. & Levitas, R. (2006) Poverty and social exclusion in Britain: The millennium survey. Bristol: Policy P ress. Chapter 6.

37. Gore (2005) cited in: Pantazis, C. Gordon, D. & Levitas, R. (2006) Poverty and social exclusion in Britain: The millennium survey. Bristol: Policy Press. Page 365

38. CEC (Commission of the European Communities) (2001b) A new impetus for European Youth: A European white paper. COM (2001) 681. Brussels: CEC

39. Pierre Bordie accessed through: http://theory.routledgesoc.com/profile/pierre-bourdieu

40. The new elitism of internships http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/feb/17/internships-elitism-conservative-auction

Bibliography

  1. Bhalla A, Lapeyre F (1997) Social Exclusion: Towards an analytical and operational Framework, Development and Change, 28;413-43.
  2. CEC (Commission of the European Communities) (2001b) A new impetus for European Youth: A European white paper. COM (2001) 681. Brussels: CEC
  3. Deidre Hughes, “Connexions cuts who will advice young people?” Guardian newspaper, 3rd August 2010. Accessed from:
  4. http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2010/aug/03/connexions-cuts-advice-young-people
  5. Employment statistics, Guardian Newspaper, accessed 21/04/2012 at:
  6. http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2010/nov/17/unemployment-and-employment-statistics-economics
  7. The Economist Magazine, March 2012: Room at the bottom, page 37.
  8. Fairclough, N. (2000) New Labour, New Language, London: Routledge (accessed from University of Bristol lecture handout, 2012).
  9. Levitas, R. (1998) The Inclusive society? Social Exclusion and New Labour. London: Macmillan.
  10. Levitas, R. , Pantazis, C., Fahmy, E., Gordon, D.,Lloys, E., & Patsisos,D. (2007). The multidimensional Analysis of Social Exclusion. Report to the Social Exclusion Task Force. University of Bristol.
  11. Lila Allen, BBC news online (2011) Future Jobs Fund “abandons” young people. Accessed through: http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/12771694
  12. Matthew D’Ancona, Workfare provides a ladder of hope from despair to dignity, 25TH February 2012. Accessed from: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/conservative/9105319/Workfare-provides-a-ladder-of-hope-from-despair-to-dignity.html
  13. Pantazis, C. , Gordon, D. & Levitas, R. (2006) Poverty and social exclusion in Britain: The millennium survey. Bristol: Policy Press.
  14. Pierre Bordie accessed through: http://theory.routledgesoc.com/profile/pierre-bourdieu
  15. 15.       Sen, Amartya. Development as freedom (2000) Oxford University Press, England.
  16. Silver, H. (1994) Social Exclusion and social solidarity, International Labour Review, 133 (5-6): 531-78
  17. 17.       Social Exclusion Unit (SEU) (2004) Breaking the Cycle: Taking stock of progress and priorities for the future: London, Stationary Office
  18. Social Exclusion Unit (SEU) (2004) The drivers of Social Exclusion. London: Stationary Office
  19. Taylor, M. (2003) Public policy in the community. Hampshire, Palgrave MacMillan,
  20. Tonybee, P., Walker, D. Unjust Rewards, London: Granta Books
  21. Wilkinson, R., and Pickett, K. (2009) The Spirit Level. London: Penguin.
  22. Young, P. (2000) Mastering Social Welfare, London: Macmillan

This paper was first submitted (marked and returned) as a Masters Coursework at the School for Policy Studies at the University of Bristol in the spring term of 2012. 

Liban Obsiye

Emaillibanbakaa@hotmail.com Twitter: @LibanObsiye

Poor staff retention is driving away customers

Many businesses are making workers redundant in response to the global financial crisis. The argument has been that because of poor sales brought about by weak consumer spending and confidence, the high cost of employing and retaining staff is no longer financially justifiable. While this argument is credible given the difficult trading conditions internationally, most ethnic lead businesses in the UK have always been poor at retaining qualified staff. Many business leaders that have been approached for this article have argued that many of their former employees were unreliable, lazy and difficult to get along with. They went on to argue that many of them lacked customer service skills and had at times been dishonest and as a result were not employable. Continue reading

Attacking the poor will not solve Britain’s economic woes

Cameron and his Liberal Democrat friends ought to be paying bonuses to their marketing managers as they have successfully turned the victims of gentrification against each other. The vilification of the poor has been a Tory policy from the beginning and its impact is now clear. Yes, £26,000 pounds in benefits sounds excessive but not all non-working families will get it, only those who live in the most expensive parts of Britain’s wealthiest cities. Most that will receive it are also in work and it is as a result of the extortionate housing costs and disgracefully low pay that the State has had to step in to support them.

Cameron must hold his patron neo-liberal saint, Margaret Thatcher, responsible for this as she sold the council houses in a failed attempt to create a property owning democracy. This, coupled with the heavy reliance on the private sector to provide social housing, has ensured that buy to let landlords got rich of the State and now their greed and the policy makers fear of intervening in the overheated and artificial property market by building affordable Council homes, has victimised the most vulnerable in society. The fear was always that State support and direct provision of public services through its bureaucratic machinery would create a dependency culture which would curtail individual ambition and national growth. But evidence today suggests that lack of state intervention has lead to the crisis that not only Britain but Europe finds itself in too. And dependency on the State will only increase as there is very little employment opportunities to assist citizens on the desired journey to self sufficiency Europe wide.

It is easy to attack the poor as they have no voice. Did we already forget that those who created the financial crisis are soon to be getting their bonuses again despite Cameron’s promises of curbing their excesses? I guess there is nothing he and his Liberal friends can do about their friends because they may leave for tax havens like Switzerland and never again want to be their friends. This must be a breach of their right to family life under the Human Rights Act 1998 and must never be allowed to happen.

The Labour Party has also been guilty of not building social housing. It stuck to the Neo-Liberal urban regeneration agenda of the Thatcher years and as a result, is unable to defend its record on new affordable home builds. Many Conservatives I speak with inform me that it was actually Labour who had the opportunity to introduce rent controls as the excessive Housing Benefit payments to Buy to Let Landlords increased but rather than appear unpopular and stop the housing bubble, they kept the mortgage companies and Estate Agents happy. Perhaps there is some truth in this argument, but what matters is that it is made absolutely clear that those on benefits, whether lifelong unemployed or working part time in poorly paid jobs, did not directly benefit from the increase in welfare spending. What increased the welfare bill were the excessive payments to landlords and not the lifestyle choices of the poor and low income earners who are been portrayed as the immorally wealthy underclass who live lavishly at the expense of the decent hardworking British people. The fact is that due to the rising cost of living in most cities in the UK, many families are relying on food banks or cutting down on buying the bare necessities. Rather than going on a spending spree at Waitrose in Chelsea, they are shopping cautiously in Lidl’s constantly fearing that they may soon be displaced from their communities because they do not (financially) deserve to live among them.

Most politicians enforcing austerity pride themselves on stressing how much they understand how difficult it will be and as such it is with great difficulty, having exhausted everything else that they ask the poorest in society to sacrifice for the national interest. But why must the poor always sacrifice when there are fatter groups that will feed the nation better and for longer? It is because they do not vote in large numbers, and there is very little political risk in hurting them that politicians continually target the poorest in society. They also are no longer members of trade unions and work in industries that can hold the nation to ransom. Furthermore, their social exclusion and poverty has been generally supported by a false representation of their pride in unemployment and tax payer sponsored living which is widely spread by the right wing press. The social and moral panic should not be that the most vulnerable are been supported by the State, but the fact that this is seen as wrong. What is the purpose of government if those in it want to reduce its role? Maybe they should start by not running for office if they want to reduce the size of the State and its role to fulfil its duties to its citizens. Or even better, create the employment that they want people to enter and pay a living wage so that the financial burden is reduced for all the tax payers.

There is a real moral and governance failure in today’s Britain. However, this failure lies with the government as the Thatcherite obsession with minimal state and privatisation has created the immorality and greed that is celebrated today. If you are not a crook and interested in doing an honest day’s work, it is hard to find and when you cannot you become the scapegoat for the gamblers of London’s failures. The most worrying thing is that the gamblers send those the general public elected to build a better future for them, to discipline them with austerity and take their tax contributions for essential public services to pay themselves bonuses. What is democratic about nudging (more like begging) the rich to better behaviour and punching the poor into compliance?

Robert Mugabe must be laughing at the much celebrated British democracy. Who can blame him?

Liban Obsiye.

libanbakaa@hotmail.com

 

Boom and bust: the only Somali business cycle

More Somali businesses fail than succeed in the UK because of poor business planning, lack of finance, poor management and poor choice of business location, among many other things. 

By Liban Obsiye (BSMG) — In Britain startup businesses have a very high failure rate as at least 1 in 3 of them fails in their first three years. However, despite this grim prospect, many others go on to succeed, expand and prosper and it is this that inspires many entrepreneurs in the UK to venture out on their own. The UK has some of the longest working hours in Europe and the majority of workers are poorly paid. Despite all the attention given by the press to bankers’ bonuses and the obscene amounts been paid to those that work in the financial district of London, the Office for National Statistics’ highly reliable Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings has found that the median salary for the majority of the full time workforce in the UK stands at £25,123. This may seem much for some readers outside the western world but the fact is that it is not as the average house price in the UK is above £100,000 and the price of everyday goods continually rises yearly if not monthly. Continue reading