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Vers une renaissance anglaise ? Dix ans de politique travailliste de la ville

 | 
Sylvie Nail
, 
David Fée

Young People and Urban Renaissance in Great Britain since 1997

Sarah Pickard

Résumé

The social exclusion which exists predominantly in deprived urban areas of Great Britain affects children and young people especially. Young people are particularly vulnerable in such environments as they are exposed to a variety of specific inter-linked negative factors at a crucial age. Without doubt, growing up in such surroundings usually has a detrimental impact on a young person which can lead to poor health, poor educational achievement, unemployment, anti-social behaviour and criminality.
When Tony Blair became Prime Minister in 1997, New Labour declared it was going to urgently tackle the issue of young people living in deprived inner cities. This would take place within the context of a wider project of urban regeneration or renewal of areas with high rates of social exclusion in order to create safer, stronger and sustainable communities. What are the problems that affect urban socially excluded young people in particular? What has the government done in the intervening nine years to address the issue of young people living in urban deprived areas? Has it been successful in improving their circumstances?
This article will first illustrate the challenging situation of young people living in inner city deprived areas at the end of the 1990s. It will then present New Labour’s thinking and policy regarding the improvement of such young people’s lives. Finally it will attempt to ascertain if there has indeed been amelioration-a true urban renaissance-for socially excluded young people living in deprived inner city communities.

Texte intégral

1 There are 12 million children and young people living in England today of which 5.5 million are aged between 16 and 24 (ONS, 2006). Young people often experience particular age-related problems that are exacerbated when they live in tough family and environmental circumstances. The social exclusion which exists predominantly in deprived urban areas affects, above all, young people. 18% of children and young people live in the 88 most deprived boroughs of the country (DCLC, 2006). They are the ones who are confronted with the most challenging of all conditions due to multiple deprivation, namely numerous inter-related specific difficulties, including poor health, criminality, poor educational achievement and unemployment. The knock-on effects impinge on the whole of their neighborhood. When Tony Blair became New Labour Prime Minister in 1997, he declared he was going to urgently tackle the issue of young people living in deprived inner cities. This would take place within the context of a wider project of urban regeneration of areas with high rates of social exclusion, in order to create safer, stronger and sustainable communities. This article will first illustrate the challenging situation of young people living in deprived inner city areas today. It will then present New Labour’s policy regarding the improvement of such young people’s lives. Finally it will attempt to ascertain if there has indeed been an improvement-a true urban renaissance-for socially excluded young people living in deprived inner city communities under New Labour.

The Problems: teenage sex, drugs and ASBOs in the city

2First, the physical and especially the mental health of young people living in deprived areas is affected by their socio-economic environment. In such neighbourhoods, there are higher rates than elsewhere of health-related problems such as mental disorders, high alcohol and drug consumption, sexually transmitted diseases and teenage pregnancies.

  • 1 In 2000, young women were drinking on average 12.6 units of alcohol per week. This represented an (...)

3Overall, mental disorders are more likely to affect boys than girls (for example, 13% of 11-15 year-old boys compared with 10% of girls). However, socio-economic status has a considerable impact on young people’s mental health; incidences of psychological problems are more prevalent among certain household and family structures that are more common in deprived areas. For example, mental disorders occur more often in young people from lone parent families1 than two parent families (8%), and rates are much higher in families where neither parent works (20%), compared to where both parents work (8%). Furthermore, young people whose parents have no academic qualifications suffer more from mental disorders (17%) compared to those where parents have qualifications to university degree level (4%) (ONS, 2005: 26-28). Similarly, the offspring of Social Class V families (occupation of head of household is unskilled) suffer more frequently (14%) from mental disorders than those in Social Class I (occupation of head of household is professional) (5%) (ONS, 2004a).

4It is then clear that young people living in a disadvantaged neighbourhood suffer psychologically from their difficult circumstances. Some turn to drugs or alcohol. Indeed, there is a strong link between mental or emotional disorders and high rates of smoking, cannabis use and drinking alcohol among young people, which in turn can lead to further mental or physical health problems (ONS: 1999).

  • 2 “Binge-drinkers are those who drink to get drunk and are likely to be aged under 25. They are more (...)
  • 3 Carried out 19-23 August 2005 amongst 2000 UK adults aged 18+. In the North, 41% of the population (...)
  • 4 Christchurch (9.8%) and East Dorset (8.8%). The Centre for Public Health (Liverpool John Moores Un (...)

5UK figures for alcohol consumption among young people, especially young men, are some of the very highest in Europe (Hibell, 1995, 1999 & GLA, 2003). In 2000, 36% of young males and 25% of young females drank more than the recommended weekly allowance as defined by the government (ONS, 2000) h This binge-drinking is a particular problem (PMSU, 2004: 4)2. There are more binge drinkers in the North and the proportion of young people admitting to binge drinking in the previous week is higher in northern urban areas (TNS Omnimas, 2005)3. This is true, in particular, in Newcastle upon Tyne (29.2%) and Liverpool (27.6%), the lowest rates being in rural areas4. Problem drinking is particularly high among young people exposed to certain risk factors, including poor parental supervision and discipline, truancy from school, early involvement in problem behaviour and especially for those coming from a disadvantaged neighbourhood, notably, where there is a lack of alternative “entertainment”. Whilst high alcohol consumption obviously has an impact on one’s mental and physical health, binge drinking often leads to antisocial or aggressive behaviour (see below).

  • 5 According to Home Office in 2005, 23.5% of 16-to 24-year-olds used cannabis, 4.9% cocaine, 4.8% ec (...)
  • 6 Drug offence accounted for 2% of recorded crime in England and Wales in 2002-2003.

6Drug abuse is one of the most challenging problems in deprived areas and drug taking among young people is much greater in socially deprived areas than elsewhere according to the Home Office5. In such neighbourhoods, drugs can provide the basis for an alternative economy, fuelling criminality. Drug-related crime disproportionately affects the poorest communities most and thus undermines neighbourhood renewal (ONS, 2001)6.

7In addition to a clear link between alcohol, drugs and antisocial behaviour or crime, studies also suggest that young people deliberately combine alcohol with sexual activity, especially before their very First sexual experiences. Furthermore, there is also a clear association between drinking alcohol and unsafe sex (Alcohol Concern, 2005).

  • 7 Moreover, one in six teenagers who had an abortion in 1997 had already had an abortion or a live b (...)
  • 8 Three in 4 young parents came from families with low socio-economic status, compared with 1 in 2 o (...)
  • 9 For example, 90% of teenage parents receive income support and rely more on benefits than lone par (...)

8Indeed, Great Britain has the highest rates of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in Europe. Teenage women and young adult men, especially those from black minority ethnice groups, are the most heavily affected by STDs. Those from these groups who are poorly educated and living in poor neighbourhoods suffer to the highest degree (Low, 1997). The United Kingdom also has the highest rates of teenage pregnancy in Western Europe (UNICEF, 2001). In 1998 there were 41,098 recorded pregnancies to under-18-year-old girls in England. Of these conceptions, 19.1% were to under-16s. 42.4% of the under-18 conceptions and 52.9% of under-16 conceptions ended in legal abortion7. This means that in 1998, 6% of teenage girls (16-19) became pregnant and that more than 1 in 10 births in England was to teenage mothers. Teenage pregnancy is both a result and a cause of social exclusion. Teenage parents tend to corne from socially excluded or deprived backgrounds. A girl is ten times more likely to become pregnant if she cornes from the lowest social class compared to a girl from a professional background (Kiernan, 1995)8. Furthermore, very often teenage parents have low educational achievement or lack participation in education (truancy and exclusion), training or employment. Girls in care (living in a care home) or homeless girls are particularly susceptible to teenage pregnancy as are daughters of teenage mothers. There are marked regional variations regarding rates of teenage pregnancy. The rates are higher in the North of England than in the South. But there are big differences within wards. However, areas of deprivation are where teenage conception rates are generally higher. Thus, in the 1990s, 54% of under-18 conceptions occurred in the 20% most deprived census wards. For example, in 2000, the under-18 conception rates were 8.98% in Hackney, five times more than in Richmond upon Thames (1.94%). Becoming a teenage parent exacerbates any existing social, health or economic inequalities and tends to be associated with long-term poverty and disadvantage following the birth of the baby9. Nevertheless, it should not be overlooked that not all teenage pregnancies are unwanted and some are indeed planned. Studies have shown that for some young people living in deprived areas with poor training and employment opportunities (often with unsettled backgrounds) being pregnant and becoming parents at a young age can be seen as a positive and rational life changing event, something within the control of the young people involved (Cater, 2006). Furthermore, the relatively high prevalence and high visibility of teenage parenthood within one’s family or local area often means that having a baby at a very young age is not considered to be abnormal or a problem.

  • 10 According to National Association of the Care and Resettlement of Offenders (NACRO) offenders aged (...)
  • 11 According to statistics, if a youngster has not committed a crime by the age of 14, he/she is unli (...)

9As regards crime, according to the Home Office, around 25% of known offenders each year are aged between 10 and 17, and a similar percentage of detected crime is committed by this age group10. There are four times more male offenders than female offenders and the peak age for offending is 14 years (MORI, 2004: 4)11. Violent offences are rare, accounting for only 8% of misdemeanours committed by young people; the most common offences are theft and the handling of stolen goods, along with threatening behaviour, fare-dodging and carrying a knife. Young people are also often associated with very visible anti-social behaviour such as being drunk, gathering or hanging around in public areas, inconsiderate or reckless riding of bicycles, being noisy, dropping litter and harassing people. This type of behaviour is defined as youth “nuisance” and it is more likely to take place in deprived places, but is more likely to be reported in better-off areas. However, whilst “youth nuisance” might disturb, upset or intimidate people in the neighbourhood, usually it is not a crime in itself. Nevertheless, for people living in deprived neighbourhoods, young people hanging about in hooded tops-“hoodies”-looking suspicious and/or threatening and displaying antisocial behaviour are at the top of their list of concerns. They say that more than their physical environment and the facilities available, it is crime and the fear of crime and disorder linked to young people that have the greatest impact on their quality of life. All the same, the most frequent victims of intimidation and harassment are generally other young people.

  • 12 “Risks are higher in the larger cities: the risks of becoming a victim of crime in rural areas are (...)

10A number of inter-related risk factors, which tend to cluster together, have been identified as increasing the likelihood of a young person committing an offence. Whilst individual, family, peer and school related factors play a role, poverty and living in a disadvantaged or neglected neighbourhood where drugs are readily available are key contributory factors (Walker, 2006)12. Indeed, crime is recognised as both a symptom and a cause of deprivation. There is a correlation between areas of high deprivation and high levels of crime and disorder: 40% of crime takes place in 10% of areas and 10% of residents of inner city areas are burgled once or more a year, which is double the rate elsewhere. Thus, disadvantaged children and young people are especially likely to be “exposed to crime, as victims, or drawn into early offending” according to the Social Exclusion Unit (SEU) (SEU, 1999). It is therefore not surprising that young people living in deprived areas are more likely to be offenders and victims of crime than their peers living elsewhere. Indeed, young people who offend at an early age are more likely to live in London and large cities of the North East and the North West (MORI, 2004: 4). Furthermore, alcohol-related offending can be a particular problem in disadvantaged areas because alcohol tends to intensify the already existing factors that cause social exclusion such as unemployment, homelessness and being involved in crime, especially for young people.

  • 13 Department for Education and Skills (DfES) (England) and National Assembly for Wales.
  • 14 1 in 6 young people from deprived backgrounds, compared with well over half of those from the midd (...)
  • 15 www.renewal.net/Nav.asp?Category=:education
  • 16 ONS, 2006, Individual SAR 2001 Base UK resident men aged 16-24. The least affected are in the SE o (...)
  • 17 ONS, 2006, Individual SAR 2001 Base UK resident women aged 16-24.
  • 18 Moreover they are more likely to be living in workless households.

11Much youth crime and anti-social behaviour is committed by young people who are either excluded from school or playing truant. In 1997, 14% of 16-year-olds in England and Wales failed to obtain five or more GCSEs or NVQs (the national average) and 8% obtained no GCSEs at all13. Most of them came from socially excluded neighbourhoods. Young people living in family poverty in deprived areas are more likely to experience difficulties at school including under-performance, under-achievement or lack of achievement. Indeed, they are more liable to have problems with literacy and numeracy, more likely to have special educational needs in general, more likely to truant and have poor attendance records, more likely to behave badly at school and be excluded from school, more likely to leave school before the age of 18 and more likely to leave with no qualifications or poor academic results (DfES). For example, in 2004, three-quarters of 16-year-olds in receipt of free schools meals failed to get five “good” GCSEs (grade C or above), which is one and a half times the rate for children who do not receive free school meals (Palmer, 2005). Young people living in deprivation are also more likely not to go on to higher education14. They are also more likely to drop out from government-sponsored training (e.g. The New Deal). The knock-on effects of poor educational achievement are significant since the risk of unemployment and low pay is much greater for those with poor or no educational qualifications. For example, in 2004, 18% of people in their late 20s with no qualifications were unemployed, compared with an average of 5% for those who did. Similarly, the probability for those with no qualifications of receiving low pay was more than 50% compared with an average of 25% (Palmer, 2005). Furthermore, girls’participation in education plays a determining role in teenage pregnancy. Of all the teenagers who had not been in education, training or employment for six months or more between the ages of 16 and 18, over 70% were mothers by the age of 21. Under-achievement at school is due to a variety of negative factors including the difficult circumstances in which schools operate, low levels of motivation, poor attendance, bad behaviour and high rates of exclusion, lack of parental support (the parents of under-achieving children are more likely to have fewer qualifications), low expectations, high mobility amongst pupils and high numbers of pupils whose first language is not English. Newly arrived refugees and asylum seekers in particular face enormous difficulties as do children in care. Schools, communities, and Locals Education Authorities (LEAs) are challenged by these complex and interacting difficulties, especially in deprived areas, where such problems are often aggravated by difficulty in recruiting and retaining staff, poor teaching, weak leadership, low morale in schools and unsatisfactory support services15. As mentioned above, better academic achievement leads generally to better job prospects and better pay. At the beginning of 1997, 13.4% (502,000) of 18-24 year-olds were officially unemployed; the figure was higher for young men (15.4%) than young women (11.0%) (ONS, 2006). There is considrable variation in rates of youth unemployment by region and within each region there are also likely to be considerable differences16. Young men living in Inner London experience the highest rates of unemployment followed by those living in the West Midlands. For women, the North East, Inner London and West Midlands stand out as problem areas17. Within those regions there are deprived neighbourhoods where youth unemployment is particularly high18. Indeed, young people aged 16 to 18 living in deprived areas are more likely not to be participating in education, training or employment (NEETs) than their peers living elsewhere. After the age of 18 they are more likely to be unemployed.

12So young people living in urban deprived areas are more likely to suffer from mental disorders, to binge drink, to be drug abusers, to have STDs, to become teenage parents, to commit crimes and/or anti-social behaviour, to do badly at school and to be unemployed. Let us now see what New Labour has tried to do for them, in particular, in order to improve their quality of life and that of their surrounding community.

The Strategies: joining up and joining in

  • 19 Social exclusion is a process whereas poverty is a State.

13When New Labour came to power, it recognized that due to poverty there was a very definite underclass cut off from mainstream society living in social exclusion in concentrated pockets of deprived urban areas and that young people and children suffered the most in such neighbourhoods. The government announced that tackling social exclusion19, especially child poverty, via urban renewal, was to be a priority. It was thought that this would lead to a reduction in many of the youth-related problems associated with such neighbourhoods.

14In deprived areas schools often represent one of the few stable structures in the neighbourhood. It is widely recognised that the best way to pull young people out of poverty and social exclusion is by improving educational achievement. Tony Blair’s mantra “Education, education, education” during the 1997 general election campaign led to the new Department for Education and Skills (DfES) rapidly setting many performance targets for schools and Local Education Authorities (LEAs). For example, schools were to have no fewer than 20% of pupils obtaining 5 GCSEs at A*-C grade before 2004, and 25% before 2006. Ambitious targets were also set for reducing truancy (to keep pupils out of harm’s way and increase chances of gaining qualifications) and getting more young people into training or higher education. Considerable Financial investments have been made to achieve these goals and the emphasis at both a local and national level has been based on collaboration and coordination between the various bodies involved such as the Department for Education and Skills (DfES), Local Education Authorities (LEAs), the Learning and Skills Council, the Youth Services, careers services, social services, the Neighbourhood Renewal Unit (NRU) and the voluntary sector, as well as parents, businesses and the local community at large. An enormous number of schemes have been launched most of which are aimed specifically at young people in disadvantaged neighbourhoods. These include: 1) New Start (1997) aimed at 14-to 17-year-olds who have dropped out of education and training; 2) Youth Inclusion Programme, aimed at reducing truancy, exclusion and offending in disadvantaged neighbourhoods by targeting 13-to 16-year-olds, the most at risk; 3) Learning Gateway for 16-17s aimed at giving support to young people no longer in education in order to attract them back; 4) Education Action Zones (EAZ) (now phased out) aimed at finding solutions to local educational problems; 5) the Excellence Challenge aimed at increasing the number of students from poorer backgrounds in Higher Education; 6) Excellence in Cities (EiC); 7) Education Maintenance Allowance for 16-to 19-year-olds from families with low incomes; 8) Connexions; 9) Youth Card scheme offering discounts to 16-to 18-year-olds to stay in education or training; 10) the National Literacy Strategy (NLS) and National Numeracy Strategy (NNS); 11) new vocational GCSEs; 12) work-related learning for 14-to 19-year-olds; 13) Education Development Plans and 14) New Deal for Communities (NDC) partnerships to raise the level of educational attainment.

  • 20 The aim was to address long-term unemployment among this age group by moving them away from depend (...)

15Better attainment at school generally leads to better work prospects. The thinking behind government policy on youth unemployment has been based on reducing barriers to work, providing active work-focused support and, in particular, ensuring that “work pays”. Soon after taking office New T abolir introduced the flagship of its welfare-to-work strategy: The New Deal for Young People (NAO, 2002: 5)20 (launched in 1998) which is a mandatory three-stage programme for ail 18-to 24-year-olds who have been unemployed and claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance continuously for six months or more. The following year saw the introduction of the Minimum Wage (April 1999). Originally 18-to 21-year-olds received a “development rate”, which was less than the “adult” rate and 16-to 17-year-olds were completely excluded (officially in order to encourage them to go onto the new apprenticeship programme which was launched to provide vocational skills). Other projects have included Entry to Employment Scheme (e2e) for 16-18 year-olds not in any form of post-16 learning to help them progress towards an apprenticeship, further learning or a job.

16If young people are in education, training or employment, the likelihood of them behaving badly is reduced. Tackling disorder in communities was essential in New Labour’s law and order policy in 1997, as part of the pledge to be “tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime”. According to the Home Office, “Anti-social behaviour doesn't just make life unpleasant. It holds back the regeneration of disadvantaged areas and creates an environment where more serious crime can take hold” (Home Office, 2006). In order to reduce youth crime in deprived areas the government attempted to introduce an integrated, joined-up approach with greater involvement of young people and more targeting of young people of all ages likely to offend and especially those living in social exclusion, combined with greater policing and the provision of diversionary activities. The government’s System of Local Strategic Partnerships target the 88 most deprived local authority areas which represent the poorest 10% of neighbourhoods in the country, that in turn have the highest crimes rates.

  • 21 The Youth Justice Board (YJB) is an executive non-departmental public body with twelve board membe (...)
  • 22 Parenting Orders have been available nationally since 1 june 2000 following a pilot. Councils can (...)
  • 23 To stop young people offending and to provide support to parents and children.
  • 24 Local councils can now implement byelaws to prevent the consumption of alcohol in specific places.
  • 25 The Safer School Partnerships launched in September 2002 is aimed at addressing high levels of cri (...)

17Legal responses came swiftly after the election of New Labour with the Crime and Disorder Act, 1998 which led to a series of changes directly linked to curbing youth crime and anti-social behaviour. First, it created a separate youth justice System so that young offenders and adult offenders are dealt with differently. It also established the Youth Justice Board (YJB) and Youth Offending Teams (YOT) with the aim of reducing youth offending21. Second, it led to the introduction of Child Safety Orders, Parenting Orders (l June 20 00)22. Acceptable Behaviour Contracts (ABCs)23 and the much mediatized Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) (1 April 1999). ASBOs were aimed originally at 10 to 17 year-olds. They are civil (rather than criminal) orders imposed on individuals by the courts. They restrict someone from doing a specific act, usually acting in a certain way or going to a certain place. Breaching an order can result in a criminal punishment including up to five years in prison. 1998 also saw the introduction by local authorities of Local Child Curfew Orders (for under-10s) in certain council estates (sink estates). The Crime and Disorder Act, 1998 also placed a legal obligation on local authorities and police together to implement a “crime and disorder strategy” involving key agencies and consultation with the community. All Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships (CDRP) are obliged to have an Anti-Social Behaviour Coordinator (ASBC) to direct a multi-agency approach to dealing with “Youth Nuisance”24. Anti-social behaviour is also dealt with as part of the National Strategy for Neighbourhood Renewal (NRU, 2000: 108-115). In 2000 the Policy Action Team (PAT) 12 of the Neighbourhood Renewal Unit (NRU) published a report on anti-social behaviour in which it emphasized the roles of education, consultation and involvement in crime prevention and suggested more CCTVs, more entry phones and better Street lighting, targeted policing, neighbourhood warden schemes with Local Wardens funded through the Neighbourhood Renewal Unit’s Neighbourhood Warden Team programmes, outreach youth workers and more diversionary measures such as youth and sports clubs. Most of these have been implemented and there have been many other new schemes. For example, the Youth Justice Board (YJB) and the Home Office carry out work through the Positive Futures and Positive Activities for Young People (PAYP) which are national sport and leisure-based inclusion programmes aimed at marginalised 10-to 19-year-olds in particularly deprived areas. They aim to reduce crime, disorder and drug misuse (PMSU, 2004). “Splash” is another scheme offering a range of activities which include sport, arts music and education. The Neighbourhood Renewal Unit (NRU) also supports government promoted initiatives such as Connexions, “Summer Splash” and Community Merit Awards25. Furthermore, the Youth Inclusion Programmes (YIP) were established in 2000 via a range of agencies acting together for 13-16 year-olds engaged in crime or identified as being highly at risk of truancy, social exclusion or offending. There are also Youth Inclusion and Support Panels (YISPs) aimed at preventing anti-social behaviour and offending by 8-13 year-olds considered to be at a high risk of offending. “On Track” is a multi-agency crime reduction programme aimed at 4-to 12 year-olds centred in areas of deprivation with high crime rates. More recently, at the beginning of 2006, the government launched the “Respect” campaign based on “The Respect Action Plan” aimed at tackling anti-social behaviour in order to “reclaim communities for the law-abiding majority”. Other programmes are centred on young, isolated and unsupported parents of small children to “nip in the bud” problems in order to stop young people getting involved in the first place via early intervention, especially in socially excluded areas. Much has been made recently (September 2006) of “baby ASBOs” or “BASBOs”, the controversial idea that future young offenders can be identified before they are even born due to certain risk factors, and that the government should intervene by providing help to future parents to stop their offspring becoming trouble makers later on. This has led to accusations of both eugenics and a “nanny State” stance from critics.

  • 26 More concretely, the strategy includes increasing access to information and advice through improvi (...)

18Some of those parents targeted will be teenagers. Recognising the poverty and disadvantage that teenage pregnancy results from and perpetuates, New Labour made reducing teenage conception rates a priority within the Neighbourhood Renewal Programme when it came to power. First, the government’s Social Exclusion Unit (SEU) published a report in 1999 entitled Teenage Pregnancy in which it outlined a ten-year strategy to decrease the rate of teenage pregnancy. It announced two goals. First, to reduce teenage conception rates, i.e. to halve the rate of conceptions to under-18 year-olds in England by 2010 and to obtain a definite downward trend of conceptions among under-16 year-olds and, in particular, to reduce conception rates among under-18 year-olds in the worst 25% of wards in the country by at least 60% by 2010. It would thus reduce the level of inequality between those wards and the national average by at least 26%. It was recognised that to do this the various agencies and professionals needed to work together further in order to provide a more joined-up and holistic approach at local, regional and national levels. Second, to decrease the risk of long-term social exclusion of teenage parents and their offspring by providing support in education, training and employment in order to encourage and help more to return to education or employment. To reach these targets, the Teenage Pregnancy Unit (TPU) was set up and a multi-agency Teenage Pregnancy Strategy team was created which led to a national strategy based on a 30-point action plan (TPU, 2002). It was decided that pregnant teenagers needed to corne into contact with a variety of agencies and professionals (housing, health, education, employment, and social care) including the Neighbourhood Renewal Unit (NRU) working alongside the voluntary sector, parents and the young people themselves. Thus local Teenage Pregnancy Coordinators work with other bodies (Sure Start, Sure Start Plus and Connexions [TPU, 2001]) in order to implement local teenage pregnancy strategies including contraceptive services, information, sex and relationships education, as well as support. They seek to raise young people’s aspirations and educate them about the dangers of sexually transmitted diseases26.

  • 27 It cost £7 million.
  • 28 “Problems associated with BD are most visible at weekends in urban areas”, page 1. “Alcohol misuse (...)

19As regards drugs, in 2001, New Labour adopted a ten-year coordinated drugs strategy placing drug problems within the community context. It aimed at helping young people resist drugs and treating people with drug problems but also protecting communities against drugs and curbing the availability of drugs in order to improve the quality of life in deprived neighbourhoods as part of the Urban Renewal project. The government set targets to reduce by 25% the proportion of under-25s reporting drug use, to increase the participation of problem drug abusers in drug treatment programmes by 55% before 2004, to decrease the availability of Class A drugs before 2005 and to reduce repeat offending among drug-misusing offenders by 25% by 2005 and 50% before 2008. In order to achieve this, a “Drugs tsar” was designated and a new National Treatment agency was set up, a Communities Against Drugs (CAD)27 initiative was launched28 to work with vulnerable young people in 26 Health Action Zones mainly in poor neighbourhoods. An extra £712 million was allocated for tackling drug-related issues for 2001-2004. In March 2004 there was a move towards a more integrated approach to drug problems; a £50 million single pot fund was created which pulls together money from the Home Office, Departments for Health and Education and the Youth Justice Board and forms part of the total £155 million available in 2004 which Drug Action Teams could spend specifically on under-19s.

  • 29 The main features of the Department of Health, 2004/11, Choosing Health, White Paper include: deve (...)
  • 30 Following the 2003, Licensing Act, the licensing hours were extended on 24 November 2005; licensee (...)
  • 31 Mr Brown, 10 October 2000, “The fund will provide extra, non-ring-fenced money to help local autho (...)

20Lastly, New Labour left acting on curbing binge drinking among young people until the end of its second term in office. Its efforts have been based on “better education and communication” (POST, 2005)29 via a three-pronged approach: first, the 2004 White Paper Choosing Health: making healthy choices easier30, second, the 2003 Licensing Act31 and third, the National Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategy for England launched by the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit in 2004. The Strategy Unit rapidly published a report that recognised the problems of under-age drinking and binge drinking among young people-especially those living in urban environments (PMSU: 2004). Strategies to improve the situation are centred on improving alcohol education in schools and providing alternative leisure and entertainment pursuits for young people in deprived areas. The government also pledged as part of its Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategy to tackle sales to under-18s and to ensure proper use is made of existing powers to deal with under-age drinking and anti-social behaviour (PMSU, 2004).

21So, since 1997, there has been a wide range of both nationwide programmes involving mainstream services and local initiatives aimed at regenerating the most deprived areas of the country where there is high unemployment and social exclusion reigns. They have a number of features in common.

  • 32 Most of Britain’s big urban areas, situated in the North, in particular, received money from the f (...)
  • 33 The government has decided that in order to help counter the problem of disengagement of young peo (...)

22First, there has been a definite trend towards a more holistic approach with joined up, cross-departmental policy-making and a tendency towards multi-agency strategies. The emphasis has thus been on partnerships at local level between the government, agencies, voluntary organisations and communities in delivering multiple solutions. For example, in 2000, the chancellor, Gordon Brown, unveiled details of plans to spend £800m over the following three years on the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund (NRF), designed to improve housing, raise school standards, reduce crime and improve health in deprived inner city neighbourhoods. Local authorities in designated zones would decide themselves how to spend the money32. In return, councils would have to set up a local strategic partnership, bringing together public services and the community and business sectors. They would also have to meet strict targets on crime, employment and education33.

23Indeed, with New Labour there has also been a real enthusiasm for target and goal-setting, e.g. for curbing teenage pregnancies and improving GCSE results and this constitutes the second feature.

24The third is that as part of the process, many task forces and special units have been set up to deal with specific issues of policy making. For example, the Neighbourhood Renewal Unit (NRF), the Urban Task Force (UTF), Policy Action Teams (PAT) and the 19 “Neighbourhood Renewal Advisors” (NRA) who specialise in dealing with children and young people and who are also available to assist in regeneration projects.

  • 34 “Dialogue with Young People” is series of consultations held with young people aged 13 to 25 to fi (...)
  • 35 This is neither an original nor surprising policy. Better youth services were recommended in the 1 (...)

25The active participation of those directly involved has also underpinned New Labour’s urban policy with engagement and empowerment as the buzz words to counteract disengagement34. In 1997, Richard Rogers, Chair of the Urban Task Force (UTF) from 1998 onwards, wrote in his book Cities for a Smaller Planet, “Active citizenship and vibrant urban life are essential components of a good city and civic identity. To restore these where they are lacking, citizens must be involved in the evolution of their cities. They must feel that public space is in their communal ownership and responsibility” (Rogers, 1997). Community involvement and increasingly “social capital” are central themes in discussion and policy relating to urban renaissance. A range of channels for youth involvement have been used, in particular forums, but also, youth surveys, youth conferences, focus group discussions, joint management initiatives, e.g. youth involvement in the management of specific projects, or youth delegates, representatives on partnerships boards and community forums regarding the improvement of infrastructures and facilities as part of urban renewal. There have been many small scale local projects, such as youth consultation projects to get young people involved in the decision making process in order to engage them in the design or management of a project that directly affects them in particular. Examples include sporting projects, community projects (local radio), educational projects (e.g. literacy and numeracy programmes or homework clubs), economic projects (e.g. programmes helping young people to gain a set of skills required by local employers), environmental projects (e.g. graffiti removal schemes), mentoring projects with someone outside the family (e.g. youth services, social services, schools). There have also been youth controlled projects where young people are given power over a project or a budget35. But youth involvement requires a lot of effort, enthusiasm, support and resources, first, to get projects up and running and then to keep them going.

  • 36 It is based on eight key principles: rising aspirations, meeting individual needs, taking account (...)

26Another common feature of New Labour’s approach to urban renewal and young people is that great emphasis has been laid on creating diversionary activities to keep young people “out of harm’s way” and “off the Street” by providing “places to go, things to do”36.

  • 37 At the launch of the DfES, 2006, Youth Matters report, Gordon Brown (Chancellor of the Exchequer) (...)

27Lastly, part of the solution for New Labour has been the creation of flagship organisation ConneXions: a “one-stop shop” of integrated youth-focused guidance and advice for 13-to 19-year-olds. The nationwide organisation attempts to supply all the advice and support young people need via a “trusted adult”37. ConneXions has been at the heart of New Labour’s efforts to help young people living in difficult areas and the government’s youth policy in general.

The results: “Never before”

  • 38 The augmentation of under-age drinking was brought on partly by the launch and immediate popularit (...)

28In March 2006 Beverley Hughes, Minister for Children, Young People and Families said, “Never before has a Government put so much responsibility into the hands of young people to let them decide what activities or facilities they need, whether it is a youth café or establishing better sports or art facilities” (DfES 20 06)38. This is true, but what have been the concrete results of New Labour attempts for an urban renaissance for young people living in deprived areas?

29Since 1997 there has been an increase in mental disorders and depression among the young, according to ONS statistics. On 20 September 2006, the Archbishop of Canterbury deplored that one in ten children and young people suffers from mental disorders. The archbishop’s comments came a week after dozens of teachers joined children’s authors and psychologists to write a letter to the Daily Telegraph, in which they highlighted “the escalating incidence of childhood depression”.

30Part of the solution would be to give young people things to do, and the government frequently mentions this as a solution. But in 2005, Lord (Richard) Rogers recommended the need to “Increase provision for young people through a major reinvestment in youth services including sport, supervised open space and imaginative use of the arts and music” (UTF, 2005: 11). But it is a claim which is very similar to the one he made in made in 1997 (see above).

  • 39 The Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit considers that binge drinking is drinking twice the recommended (...)
  • 40 Alcohol Concern is the national agency on alcohol misuse.
  • 41 Since 1997 under-18 conceptions have fallen by 11% and the rate of teenage conceptions is now at t (...)

31Compared to 1997, young people today are drinking alcohol younger (Alcohol Concern, 2005 & 2001)39, more often and more in each session of drinking. Young women are fast catching up with young men as regards excessive drinking40. In a recent Alcohol Concern study, the average consumption of those who had drunk alcohol in the previous week doubled from 5 units a week in the early 1990s to 10 units in 200441. Drug taking is also on the increase according to the ONS, as is drug-related crime and anti-social behaviour, although domestic burglary and vehicle crime has dropped.

  • 42 Beverley Hughes, speaking at the launch of SETF (Social Exclusion Task Force), 2006/09, Reaching O (...)
  • 43 The rate of diagnosis for Chlamydia infection in females aged under 20 has increased consistently (...)

32Whilst there has been a steady decline in teenage pregnancies42 (11% since 1998), the target of a 15% fall by 2004 however was not reached, and it is highly unlikely that the target of halving teenage pregnancies by 2010 will be met. Moreover, reduction has been less successful in the most deprived areas that were particularly targeted. The Minister for Children Beverley Hughes promised on 11 September 2006 a “more targeted approach” to “teenage pregnancy hot-spots”43.

  • 44 Evidence about major national initiatives to improve éducation in areas of deprivation cornes from (...)

33As for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), between 1991 and 2001, the number of new cases among people aged under 20 doubled in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (from 669,291 to 1,332,910) (ONS, 2004a)44. Since then, the situation has worsened considerably and STD rates among young people have become “epidemic” with STD clinics being unable to cope.

  • 45 The figure was higher for young men (2006, 12.9%) than young women (2006, 9.8%). The programme was (...)

34According to OFSTED there has been no real progress in the number of young people obtaining satisfactory academic results. Approximately a quarter of young people at each of the ages of 11, 16 and 19 are still failing to reach a basic level of attainment (Palmer, 2005: 47) and the proportion of 16-year-olds who obtained fewer than five GCSEs in 2005 (12%) was the same as in 1998/1999. Thus, substantial numbers of young people continue to have poor or no qualifications (OFSTED, 2 0 03)45. It was announced on 21 September 2006 that truancy is on the increase, having gone up by 40% in the last five years in some places.

  • 46 The long-term employability of most young people who have participated in the New Deal programme h (...)
  • 47 However, it should be noted that the programmes may have adverse impact on the employment of those (...)
  • 48 NEETs are a particular worry for the Department for Education and Skills (DfES). They are particul (...)

35On a more positive note, the New Deal for Young People achieved the Government’s manifesto target of placing 250,000 young people into jobs before 2001 ahead of schedule and at the beginning of 2006, 11.5% (462,000) of 18-24 year-olds were officially unemployed which is a fall of 2% compared to 199746. More significantly, the percentage of long-term (over 12 months) unemployed young people has fallen dramatically from 27.7% in 1997 to 15.1% in 20 0647,48. Flowever, until recently there had been a clear downward trend in unemployment figures as a whole, not just those covered by the New Deal. It should be noted that pockets of high unemployment exist, for example, in inner London which particularly affects young people from socially excluded neighbourhoods.

  • 49 The trend is to “joined up” cross-departmental work and multi-agency task groups with coordinated (...)

36Thus, most of the social ills that affect urban deprived neighbourhoods, and young people in particular, that New Labour set out to quash still remain. Most have got worse. Tellingly, around 13% (750,000), probably more, of young people aged between 16 and 24 in England are not studying, training or working according to the Social Exclusion Unit (ONS: 2004b)49. These NEETs (Not in Education, Employment or Training) live disproportionately in poor urban environments. NEETs are those who are the most in need of help, but they are the hardest ones to help and the least likely to receive help due to the often chaotic and complicated lives they lead. But it is also the fault of the authorities: the high number of NEETs is a very obvious failure of New Labour’s Neighbourhood Renewal programme.

The rising tide has not helped lift them

37Young people constitute a greater proportion of the population living in deprived areas than elsewhere. Young people who live in deprived neighbourhoods have to deal with a bigger variety of problems and a greater intensity of these problems than their peers living elsewhere. Socially excluded young people are more likely to suffer from mental health problems, be involved in drug misuse and criminality in general, as well as be a victim of crime, have difficulties in education and in finding work, experience conflict at home, become homeless, become teenage parents and be exposed to racism.

38In the past this situation was compounded by the failure of public services to deal with such young people’s specific problems and needs. Youth policy and existing services were fragmented (un-joined-up) and lacking in focus and funds. This was partly due to the multi-facetted problems faced by young people in deprived areas which meant that no one governmental department or one organization had overall responsibility. The overlapping of responsibility often led to “passing the buck”, but also to a lack of investment and commitment.

39In September 1998 Deputy Labour leader John Prescott promised tough action to regenerate “sink” estates and tackle homelessness as part of an “urban renaissance”. He said, “Remember the old adage - we hold this world in trust for future generations. It is not ours to squander”. A decade has now passed and it can be said that some progress has been made. Indeed, youth issues have gained a prominence and New Labour moved the needs of young people and the needs of socially excluded areas up the agenda. There has been recognition of a need to improve the life chances for young people living in social exclusion and the need for a holistic and inclusive approach has been established. Thus, traditional boundaries have to a large extent been overcome (NYA, 2002). However, three problems stand out. First, youth involvement in urban regeneration needs to be an integral part of the mainstream renewal strategy. Second, much more needs to be invested in infrastructures and facilities along with a stronger Youth Service and things to do to provide alternatives for young people. These are not new needs. Third, young people from the middle-classes have gained from the measures taken, but not those who need them the most.

  • 50 In a speech to a Scottish Labour Party conference in Aviemore, the Highlands, Scotland.

40Tony Blair summed up the situation well on 24 February 2006 when he said New Labour had changed people’s lives for the better, giving them a decent living wage through tax credits. But he went on, “For some, those who from generation to generation are brought up in workless households in poor estates, often poorly educated and frankly sometimes poorly parented, the rising tide has not helped lift them. We intervene too late. We spend without asking how effective the spending is. [...] These are the children who are the clients of many agencies of government but the charges of no one - prey to drugs, to crime and anti-social behaviour, lacking in self-belief, lacking a basic stake in the society into which they are born. [...] It isn’t good enough”50. This startlingly frank summary of the situation by the Prime Minister makes one wonder why more has not been done.

  • 51 A policy review of social exclusion is currently taking place under the guidance of Iain Duncan Sm (...)

41Lastly, at the start of July 2006 David Cameron made a different type of speech to the Tory think tank the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ). He said in a rather un-Conservative way that we should try to understand young people from poor neighbourhoods and their troubles. He declared, “The hoodie is a response to a problem, not a problem in itself. [...] For me, adult society’s response to the hoodie shows how far we are from finding the long-term answers to put things right”. Cameron then said that in deprived estates children can easily turn to crime because they have no money and nothing to do. He went on to praise charities working with inner-city teenagers, saying the voluntary sector can succeed where the New Labour State has failed51. This is maybe then where the future lies for urban regeneration and young people.

Bibliographie

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Alcohol Concern, 2004/03, Factsheet on Young People’s Drinking Consumption, London. www.alcoholconcern.org.uk/files/20040706_145136_young%20people%20factsheet%20-%20updated%20March%202004.pdf

Alcohol Concern, 2005/11, Factsheet on Young People’s Drinking, London. www.alcoholconcern.org.uk/files/20051124_143141_young%20people%20factsheet%20-%20updated%20Nov%202005.pdf

Cater, S. & Coleman, L., 2006/2007, “Planned” teenage pregnancy: Views and experiences of young people from poor and disadvantaged backgrounds, York, Joseph Rowntree Foundation 0RF), The Policy Press. www.jrf.org.uk/bookshop/eBooks/9781861348753.pdf

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DfES (Department for Education and Skills), 2006/03, Youth Matters, London. www.everychildmatters.gov.uk/_files/Youth%20Matters.pdf

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Notes

1 In 2000, young women were drinking on average 12.6 units of alcohol per week. This represented an increase of two-thirds since 1992. Young men were drinking 25.9 units per week, a 25% increase over the same period.

2 “Binge-drinkers are those who drink to get drunk and are likely to be aged under 25. They are more likely to be men, although women’s drinking has been rising fast over the last ten years. Binge drinkers are at increased risk of accidents and alcohol poisoning. Men in particular are more likely both to be a victim of violence and to commit violent offences. There can also be a greater risk of sexual assault. The impacts on society are visible in, for example, high levels of attendance at A&E related to alcohol”. According to The 2000 British Crime Survey from the Home Office, around 40% of violent offences are committed when offenders are under the influence of alcohol. In the White Paper which became the Licensing Act, 2003, we read that an estimated one in six Accident and Emergency (A&E) admissions are for alcohol related injuries or problems and this figure has been estimated to rise to 80% at peak times on Friday and Saturday nights.

3 Carried out 19-23 August 2005 amongst 2000 UK adults aged 18+. In the North, 41% of the population were concerned, compared to a national average of 29%.

4 Christchurch (9.8%) and East Dorset (8.8%). The Centre for Public Health (Liverpool John Moores University) analysed statistics from the past two years for all 354 local authority regions.

5 According to Home Office in 2005, 23.5% of 16-to 24-year-olds used cannabis, 4.9% cocaine, 4.8% ecstasy, 3.3% amphetamines, 2.9% magic mushrooms, 0.1% crack and 0.1% heroin.

6 Drug offence accounted for 2% of recorded crime in England and Wales in 2002-2003.

7 Moreover, one in six teenagers who had an abortion in 1997 had already had an abortion or a live birth.

8 Three in 4 young parents came from families with low socio-economic status, compared with 1 in 2 of non-teenage parents.

9 For example, 90% of teenage parents receive income support and rely more on benefits than lone parents and are more likely to receive and remain on benefits for longer. Teenage parents are more likely than their peers to end up without qualifications. They are disproportionately likely to suffer relationship breakdown. Their daughters are more likely to become teenage mothers themselves. Furthermore, teenage parents tend to have poor ante-natal health, lower birth weight babies and higher infant mortality rates. Their own health and their children are worse than average.

10 According to National Association of the Care and Resettlement of Offenders (NACRO) offenders aged 10 to 17 accounted for 22% of crime in 2000. Whilst much crime is committed by young people, that does not mean to say that a lot of young people commit a lot of crime. Young men aged 16 to 24 are at the most risk of being a victim of violent crime. During a period of twelve months, nearly one third of 16-17 year-old males reported committing a violent crime: Home Office, 2003, 2003 Offending Crime and Justice Survey.

11 According to statistics, if a youngster has not committed a crime by the age of 14, he/she is unlikely to ever do so.

12 “Risks are higher in the larger cities: the risks of becoming a victim of crime in rural areas are around half those elsewhere, even when taking into account the lower population”.

13 Department for Education and Skills (DfES) (England) and National Assembly for Wales.

14 1 in 6 young people from deprived backgrounds, compared with well over half of those from the middle/upper classes.

15 www.renewal.net/Nav.asp?Category=:education

16 ONS, 2006, Individual SAR 2001 Base UK resident men aged 16-24. The least affected are in the SE outside London.

17 ONS, 2006, Individual SAR 2001 Base UK resident women aged 16-24.

18 Moreover they are more likely to be living in workless households.

19 Social exclusion is a process whereas poverty is a State.

20 The aim was to address long-term unemployment among this age group by moving them away from dependency on unemployment and social security benefits and into “worthwhile employment”. This was to be done by improving the employability and employment of the long-term young unemployed through a mix of advice, training, support and other assistance. They are given training (courses to develop the skills that employers want or training for a specific job), job search support (practical help with applying for jobs, interview practice) and targeted help followed by various options which constitute an initial Gateway stage: a) a government subsidised job for 6 months, b) to work and receive training in the voluntary sector or do an environmental job with the Environment task force for six months, or c) enter full-time education or training for 12 months. With each option the young person is guaranteed to receive the same amount as Job Seekers Allowance. According to the National Audit Office (NAO), the Government had spent £668 million on the programme by March 2000. After taking into account the programme’s impact on other parts of the government budget, the estimated net cost of the New Deal programme was around £140 million a year between 1998 and 2000 with the average annual cost per additional person of any age in employment being £5,000 to £8,000.

21 The Youth Justice Board (YJB) is an executive non-departmental public body with twelve board members appointed by the Home Secretary. It coordinates the governmental action against youth offending and oversees the work of the Youth Offending Teams (YOT) and generally encourages good practice. YOTs are local teams that bring together professionals from diverse organisations such as social services, police, probation, health and education. The Youth Offending Teams (YOTs) are said to be the key to the success of the youth justice System. There is a YOT in every local authority in England and Wales. They are made up of representatives from the police, Probation Service, social services, health, education, drugs and alcohol misuse and housing officers. Each YOT is managed by a YOT manager who is responsible for co-ordinating the work of the youth justice services, www.yjb.gov.uk/en-gb

22 Parenting Orders have been available nationally since 1 june 2000 following a pilot. Councils can apply for parenting orders to be imposed if a child has committed a criminal offence, or has been truanting a lot, or has been seriously anti-social on the streets.

23 To stop young people offending and to provide support to parents and children.

24 Local councils can now implement byelaws to prevent the consumption of alcohol in specific places.

25 The Safer School Partnerships launched in September 2002 is aimed at addressing high levels of crime and anti-social behaviour around schools and there are also mentoring programmes.

26 More concretely, the strategy includes increasing access to information and advice through improving Sex and Relationships education at school via more explicit lessons often conducted by nurses without teachers present, free condoms, sending girls a birthday card when they are 14 asking them to attend confidential health check without parents. There has also been a national campaign to encourage young people to resist peer pressure, to make their own choices and to take responsibility.

27 It cost £7 million.

28 “Problems associated with BD are most visible at weekends in urban areas”, page 1. “Alcohol misuse is closely linked with anti-social, aggressive and violent behaviour. For instance, alcohol is a factor in 30% of sexual offences, 33% of burglaries and 50% of Street crimes”, page 2.

29 The main features of the Department of Health, 2004/11, Choosing Health, White Paper include: developing a voluntary social responsibility scheme for alcohol producers and retailers; working closely with the drinks industry to develop a campaign on binge drinking and investments in the NHS to improve services to help tackle alcohol problems at an early stage.

30 Following the 2003, Licensing Act, the licensing hours were extended on 24 November 2005; licensees can now apply for extended licensing hours after 11 pm to allow potentially round the clock 24-hour opening hours. The government stated that staggered closing times would decrease anti-social behaviour and ease the pressure on the police and A&E services at specific times. Most places which apply are supermarkets.

31 Mr Brown, 10 October 2000, “The fund will provide extra, non-ring-fenced money to help local authorities in the most deprived areas spend on more teachers, police officers, crime prevention programmes, social services or any other services which deliver real improvements for the community.”

32 Most of Britain’s big urban areas, situated in the North, in particular, received money from the fund, including: Birmingham: £44m, Manchester: £42m, Liverpool: £40m, Newham: £26m, Hackney: £23m, Bradford: £19.6m, Sheffield: £19.lm, Nottingham: £18.5m, Doncaster: £17.8m, Leeds: £16.8m.

33 The government has decided that in order to help counter the problem of disengagement of young people regarding their communities and the lack of citizenship, there is a need to consult and involve or engage young people themselves in their neighbourhood. The importance of convincing disadvantaged young people that their opinions count as well as getting young people involved in the design and delivery of regeneration projects can be a highly effective way of engaging young people.

34 “Dialogue with Young People” is series of consultations held with young people aged 13 to 25 to find out their priorities regarding government involvement.

35 This is neither an original nor surprising policy. Better youth services were recommended in the 1960s. See: HMSO, 1960/02, The Youth Service in England and Wales (Albemarle Report), London: HMSO.

36 It is based on eight key principles: rising aspirations, meeting individual needs, taking account of the views of young people, inclusion, partnership, community involvement and neighbourhood renewal, extending opportunity and equality of opportunity and evidence-based practice.

37 At the launch of the DfES, 2006, Youth Matters report, Gordon Brown (Chancellor of the Exchequer) said, “Teenagers are our future leaders, entrepreneurs and parents and their experience of youth is hugely significant in shaping the direction they take in their lives. So it is time for a youth strategy that is shaped by young people - based on listening to and trusting young people to develop the services they want and need to fulfil their true potential. This relationship with young people - built on trust and responsibility - must be a new frontier in British politics”.

38 The augmentation of under-age drinking was brought on partly by the launch and immediate popularity of “alcopops” in the summer 1995 among young people - especially among 12 to 17 year-olds - despite claims by the manufacturers that they were not targeting under-age drinkers (the legal age to purchase and consume alcohol is 18 in Great Britain). According to Alcohol Concern, in 2004, just under a quarter of 11-15 year-olds had drunk alcohol in the previous week.

39 The Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit considers that binge drinking is drinking twice the recommended guidelines in one day, i.e. 6 units for women and 8 for men. This is the equivalent of having 3 glasses of wine or 6 measures of spirits or more for women and 4 pints or 8 measures of spirits or more for men, on a single night out.

40 Alcohol Concern is the national agency on alcohol misuse.

41 Since 1997 under-18 conceptions have fallen by 11% and the rate of teenage conceptions is now at the lowest point since the mid-1980s. The percentage of teenage parents in education, training or work increased from 17% in 1996 to 29% in 2001.

42 Beverley Hughes, speaking at the launch of SETF (Social Exclusion Task Force), 2006/09, Reaching Out: An Action Plan On Social Exclusion, HMSO, London.

43 The rate of diagnosis for Chlamydia infection in females aged under 20 has increased consistently since the mid-1990s.

44 Evidence about major national initiatives to improve éducation in areas of deprivation cornes from OFSTED.

45 The figure was higher for young men (2006, 12.9%) than young women (2006, 9.8%). The programme was considered so important that a special windfall tax on utility companies was introduced, raising £5 billion specifically for this purpose.

46 The long-term employability of most young people who have participated in the New Deal programme has improved.

47 However, it should be noted that the programmes may have adverse impact on the employment of those who are not covered by the programme, so displacement effects must be taken into account.

48 NEETs are a particular worry for the Department for Education and Skills (DfES). They are particularly vulnerable to drug abuse and other forms of criminality. 71% of NEETs claim to have used illegal drugs compared to 47% of young people in general.

49 The trend is to “joined up” cross-departmental work and multi-agency task groups with coordinated roles and responsibilities that are more inclusive, involving both adults and young people in the decision making process.

50 In a speech to a Scottish Labour Party conference in Aviemore, the Highlands, Scotland.

51 A policy review of social exclusion is currently taking place under the guidance of Iain Duncan Smith.

© Presses Sorbonne Nouvelle, 2008

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