Letter: Urban poverty

Share
Related Topics
Your article "Brown swoops to save doomed estates" (6 February) would have been better entitled "Brown charges up same old blind alley". Government policy on urban poverty has followed this mistaken path of area targeting for the last 30 years, and it has failed.

The reasons are, first, that poverty and deprivation are not particularly concentrated. Yes, there are some places much worse than others, but any policy to target the areas most affected will always miss most of the target group. Most poor people do not live in the small number of "worst" target areas.

Second, these are human problems, not problems of place. People move around. One estate or area may improve, but only at the cost of the deprivation, and often the same deprived people, moving somewhere else - unless there is action to reduce the net amount of poverty and deprivation.

The previous government commissioned, and then ignored, a review of urban policy led by Professor Robson at Manchester University. It showed that 30 years of area-targeted initiatives have failed to improve the areas concerned relative to the country as a whole. The report commented that targeting people rather than areas might be more appropriate.

I well remember working on economic development in Peckham when the then government announced a task force to "swoop" on the area with pounds 2m to spend. Local views were divided between those who thought that the money would not go far when divided equally between local people, and those who said that it was just not enough to knock the place down. People in deprived areas are deeply cynical of these government initiatives, since they know that what is really necessary to tackle poverty is a matter of action on low wages, high unemployment, low benefits, and a regressive tax system.

If Mr Brown wants to tackle poverty, then he should stay in the Treasury working on the tax system, and stop swooping on estates, which will only alarm the residents.

ALAN TAYLOR

London SE24

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Associate Recrutiment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Group have been well ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: Real Staffing Group is seeking Traine...

Year 6 Teacher (interventions)

£120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: We have an exciting opportunity...

PMLD Teacher

Competitive: Randstad Education Manchester: SEN Teacher urgently required for ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
President Barack Obama walks with U.S. Secret Service agents to Air Force One at Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, Calif., May 8, 2014.  

Obama's Secret Service has become sloppy with its delusions of Hollywood grandeur

David Usborne
Chancellor George Osborne got a standing ovation from the Tories for a package of tough measures  

The Conservative party would have us believe that the poor deserve to be punished

Andreas Whittam Smith
Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties