Social Exclusion


New Labour and Adolescent Disadvantage

with Moira Wallace

The New Labour Government (1997-2010) invested significant public expenditure and policy effort in trying to remedy multi-dimensional problems of adolescent disadvantage. The effects were intended to be long-term and multi-faceted. However, individual programmes were evaluated in isolation and over a short time-scale. The generation of children whose life-course coincided with most of these policy and expenditure changes is now making the transition to adulthood. As such, it is a good time to ask what happened to them throughout their adolescence. This project outlined Labour’s approach to adolescent disadvantage and analysed the data on their key Public Service Agreement targets, namely: child poverty; educational underachievement, school exclusion and truancy, teenage conceptions, NEETs, juvenile crime, and drug and alcohol misuse. The remarkable decline in teenage pregnancy is now well documented. Our analysis shows a similar or greater magnitude in reductions across the other indicators of youth disadvantage for the cohort who experienced these policies.

Dean R.J. & Wallace, M.W. 2018. ‘New Labour and Adolescent Disadvantage: A Retrospective’, Social Policy Review, 30.

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