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Work and worklessness in deprived neighbourhoods

Ian Cole et al.

27 October 2009

This study contrasts policy assumptions about work and worklessness with the personal experiences of residents living in deprived neighbourhoods.

Recent policy debate has centred on a number of claims about why people do not have jobs and the benefits of employment for individual and family life. This report draws on detailed interviews with residents in deprived neighbourhoods across Britain to reflect on the validity of these assumptions at a time of recession and far-reaching welfare reform. Four key themes are explored:

  • how workless residents perceive the availability of work in a recession;
  • the experiences of work among residents and how this compares with official claims about the benefits of work;
  • how workless parents feel about returning to work, and the impact of employment on family life for those in work;
  • the potential for training and education to help workless people enter the labour market or, once in work, to secure better jobs.

A supporting film - 'Lucky to have a job' - is also available that illustrates issues from the community's perspective in the Welsh town of Amlwch.

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