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Housing, Welfare and Stigma

Housing, Welfare and Stigma

The Immigration Act 2016 aims to constrain illegal immigration by relying on collaboration from
employers, service providers, and workers in the public and private sector, as well as from members
of the general public. In this way, the government is fostering a culture of enforced cooperation
towards the policing of undocumented migrants; to collectively create a ‘hostile’ environment, or
more recently, what the current UK Government calls a ‘compliant’ environment. However, this Act
is controversial as the implementation of its measures has had unintended consequences, with
potential for further negative implications.

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This research, published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, explores differences between ethnic groups in labour market participation (unemployment, employment and hours worked) and employment status (low, mid and high skilled occupation levels) for those in work.

It examines whether there is ‘clustering’ into particular occupations for some ethnic groups, and looks at how much geography matters for employment and job status for different ethnic groups.

Appendix 6, which was not included in the full report due to space limitations, can be downloaded here:

http://ggsrv-cold.st-andrews.ac.uk/CHR/Uploads/Edit/file/Appendix%206_CatneySabater_Final.pdf (please copy and paste address into a web browser)

It contains all graphs and tables for all ethnic groups and not only the ones selected for the final JRF report.

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In many countries, the demographic shift towards an ageing population is occurring against a backdrop of welfare state restructuring. The paradigm of asset-based welfare may become increasingly central to these developments as individualised welfare is touted as part of the response to the challenge of funding the care of an ageing population. This article focuses on the framing of housing wealth as a form of asset-based welfare in the UK context. We consider the strengths and weaknesses of housing as a form of asset-based welfare, both in terms of equity between generations and equality within them. We argue that housing market gains have presented many homeowners with significant, and arguably unearned, wealth and that policy-makers could reasonably expect that some of these assets be utilised to meet welfare needs in later life. However, the suitability of asset-based welfare as a panacea to the fiscal costs of an ageing population and welfare state retraction is limited by a number of potential practical and ethical concerns.

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Drawing on papers from a recent ESRC seminar series of the same name, this special issue edited by McKee offers a critique of contemporary UK political and policy debates relating to the Big Society and housing policy. By drawing out wider narratives around localism, empowerment, citizenship and welfare reform the special issue also has a much broader, international relevance beyond the devolved policy context of the UK. It features papers from Dr Tony Manzi (University of Westminster); Prof. Keith Jacobs (University of Westminster); Prof. John Flint (University of Sheffield); and a co-authored paper by Dr Peter Matthews (University of Stirling), Prof. Glen Bramley (Heriot-Watt) and Prof. Annette Hastings (University of Glasgow).

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Low pay, high house prices and a small rental sector mean that the housing market in the UK has many inherent risks. Few households have enough savings to cover their housing costs for more than a month if they lost their job. Growing numbers of households rely on the safety net to prevent them becoming homeless if they fall on tough times. Successive governments have made changes to the housing safety net so that it now provides less support to fewer people.
Mindful of these trends, Shelter commissioned the University of St Andrews to assess the gaps in the UK’s current housing safety net. The research estimates the number of households falling through the net or at risk of falling through, the characteristics of those at risk and the main risk factors leading people to fall through the net.

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Drawing on presentations given across the seminar series as a whole this briefing paper (no 1) explores the interconnections between the Big Society, and that of the current welfare reform agenda being advanced by the UK coalition government.

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In the context of a detailed examination of a recent article by Eoin O’Sullivan [ ‘Varieties of Punitiveness in Europe: Homelessness and Urban Marginality’ European Journal of Homelessness (2012), vol. 7, pp. 69-97], this paper argues that recent attempts, based in part on the notion of European exceptionalism, to diminish the links between neoliberalism and homelessness are mistaken. The evidence of such links, even in the ‘welfare states’ of western Europe, is abundant and the wholesale supplanting of a ‘punitivism’ by ‘compassion’ is to ignore the lessons of seven decades of research which if it has taught us anything is that homelessness is not just about individual behaviour and good (or bad) intentions. It is also critically about societal constrictions and impositions and possibilities which themselves are the expression of present and past economic circumstances and prevailing political doctrine.

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Homeownership has become a ‘normalised’ tenure of choice in many advanced economies, with housing playing a pivotal role in shifts from collective to asset-based welfare. Young people are, however, increasingly being excluded from accessing the housing ladder. Many are remaining in the parental home for longer, and even when ready to ‘fly the nest’ face significant challenges in accessing mortgage finance. This under-30 age group has become ‘generation rent’. As this policy review emphasises, this key public-policy issue has created a source of inter-generational conflict between ‘housing poor’ young people and their ‘housing rich’ elders. To fully understand the complexities at play however, this paper argues that we need to look beyond the immediate housing-market issues and consider how housing policy interacts with broader social, economic and demographic shifts, and how it is intimately connected to debates about welfare. This is illustrated with reference to the UK, although these debates have international resonance.

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