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ILS04 – Ruth Lupton – Local Dynamics of Inequality and Poverty

The Greater Manchester conurbation has been no different in this respect with growth in Manchester, Trafford and Salford far outpacing other boroughs. The consequence?

Accounting for these spatial disparities is complex; the discussion was subsequently framed in terms of why a rising tide lifts some boats but not others? Professor Lupton posited a number of possible explanations for this. One is the observation that economic growth measured by Gross Value Added GVA has been minimal in certain areas when examined on a national basis.

These growth rates look insignificant when a further line is added mapping the growth rate for London. Over this period GVA growth in London had been much higher than for the selected Northern conurbations contributing to a substantial gap in Consequently, the effect of relatively poor growth trends means the tide has not been strong enough to raise the quality of life in all areas.

A second explanation came with reference to changing job profiles in certain areas. Put plainly, economic growth has privileged certain types of areas more than others through occupational disparities.


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Evidence was shown that over time, for men, certain types of jobs namely plant and elementary occupations were being pushed outwards from the South West of Greater Manchester to areas like Oldham and Rochdale, while other jobs notably managerial and professional occupations were being pushed inwards towards the central and South West of Greater Manchester. The changing job profile for women has been much less sporadic, but similar movements have occurred which have led to the largest increases in managerial and professional jobs in the high growth areas.

The implication here was that it is the wrong kind of tide whereby certain areas have been systematically benefitting from a particular type of economic growth.

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A third explanation was that some areas were destined for inequality due to long-term disrepair. As a former industrial powerhouse, the Greater Manchester conurbation has struggled to break away from sector related declines contributing to intergenerational inequalities which have harmed the growth prospects of certain areas. Vicious cycles of low academic attainment, low pay, insecure work and poor mental and physical health have confined some to endemic poverty while others lack the necessary financial stability to plan their lives and contribute to the economy.

The lack of initiative by the government to apply the right kinds of policies to these areas in order for them to make inroads in the modern economy has exacerbated a feeling of isolation where those disadvantaged feel forgotten.

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Göran Therborn, Dynamics of Inequality, NLR , January–February

Subsequently, it was suggested that certain areas have been held back from capitalising on economic growth due to deeply embedded legacy effects. Conclusively, these findings were said to illustrate the importance of a place-based approach to analysing social deprivation and inequality and finding remedies to apply to unequal outcomes. Yet this approach should not be a business-as-usual one; we must re-visit the technical and theoretical parameters we use to look at deprivation in local communities; advance policies that put sustainability and community at the heart of growth; and to recognise the spatial measures that must be taken through connectivity.

Here are their key lessons.

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Many […]. It is widely recognised that […].

Inequality and Poverty

Understanding the changing nature of work and its global ramifications is a key challenge for our time. The GPID network is involved in two exciting […]. Global value chains GVCs are seen by many, including the World Bank, as a promising remedy to slow growth in developing countries. Local firms can […]. Have developing countries converged on advanced countries?