It’s not what you know, It’s where you live.

Young people leaving school today have hopes and dreams. Dick Whittington may have left to go to London to seek his fortune, and slept rough. That is no longer desirable or sensible in a modern world. Too many people dwell on a few square miles of England. What of the rest of us? The cost of housing in the South East continues to rise yet house prices fall elsewhere. It is becoming increasingly difficult for ordinary workers to maintain a lifestyle in the South East, where elsewhere unemployment soars, especially for young people.  Recent reports of a fall in unemployment in the London area attributed to the effects of the Olympic Games are not reflected elsewhere.

Yahoo news Unemployment has fallen to its lowest level for a year after a big jump in the number of people in work, especially in London, suggesting a jobs boost because of the Olympic Games.

However, this does not reflect the unemployment prospects of the nation as a whole. Indeed, a  recent study by Ambitious Minds reveals that the North South divide is widening and young people in the North East and in Scotland face the greatest hardship and poorest job prospects. It is not a matter to build more and more homes in the South East, already suffering water shortages this year, and rising transport costs. Investment should be targeted at those areas of high unemployment where poverty is rising.

The BBC reports one is six young people, not in education , employment or training.

This interactive map from the Guardian shows in which areas young people 16-24 are claiming most benefits, as of July 2012.

Yahoo News:

School leavers are set to face a postcode lottery in finding jobs, as youth unemployment soars in parts of the UK, a study suggests.

It argues that there is now a north-south divide, with youngsters in the North East and Scotland facing the worst prospects.

At the same time, London and the South East remain relatively unaffected by youth unemployment, according to a study by education specialists Ambitious Minds.

The study warns that teenagers who are picking up their GCSE results this week have seen the most “dramatic” changes to their prospects and expectations than any other secondary school year group for 70 years.

The North East, Scotland and Yorkshire and the Humber have all had rises in youth unemployment that are twice as large as those in London and the South East, which have seen only small increases, it claims.

Overall, the North East of England had seen the biggest rises. In September 2007, 5.1% of 16-to-24-year-olds in the region were claiming jobseekers’ allowance. By July 2012 this had risen to 8.6% – an increase of 3.5 percentage points.

The Independent also cites  studies from the Nominet Trust

A study for the Nominet Trust charity revealed a “postcode lottery” for the life chances of youngsters.

The data showed that young people in Erdington, Birmingham, were more than three times as likely to be unemployed as youngsters in South Kensington, London.

Teenagers in Harrogate were seven times as likely to go to an elite university than their counterparts in Bradford, just 20 miles away, said the report.

See also:

Think Left: St George Osborne and the Two Englands

Think Left : What price failure?

BBC One in six young people not in employment or training

Independent: Huge Inequalities in Life’s Chances  

Unemployment Claimants data July 2012


7 thoughts on “It’s not what you know, It’s where you live.

  1. This isn’t a direct critique of your post I know, but “post-code lottery” suggests to me a set of whimsical chance variations of a street by steet kind. I think that social class, social capital, gender, biography, regional economic structures, age and ethnicity are the stronger sorts of idea that need to be used. “Post-code lottery” was a phrase once used to attract attention, but its value has declined. Its relative trivilaity helps to hide the cruder uses of power that deny the claims of egalitarian ideas, as if one more turn of the tombola wheel would change the chances of winning that lottery and make everything OK. It seems to me to be another version of the quest for increased rates of social mobility.


    • I agree that the term which is predominantly used in the press, and therefore in the quotes does not address the complex nature of the inequalities facing all of us and particularly the young today.
      Think Left has analysed the issues regarding gender, class, economic status, race and geographical regions.
      There is no doubt poverty in London and the South East. Nevertheless the social ( and geographical) divide is widening and the prospects between rich and poor is widening, and it is this which needs to be addressed. While there remains a privileged elitist public school system little progress will be made. It is time we had a really comprehensive education system in my view, a National Education Service , and a National Health Service for all.


      • The use of political power to restructure education would surely be a sight to see. The ratchet has steadily gone the wrong way, I fear. Adult education, genuine comprehensive schools, curbs on private schools, quality vocational education and lifelong training opportunities could do much in terms of human capital, individual fulfilment and social equality. Meanwhile Gove turns an imaginary clock back to an imaginary world, with sadly real consequences that will damage the rich as well as the poor (in the long run).



    Case study: the parable of 100 dogs and 92 bones

    Imagine a small community comprising 100 dogs. Each morning they set off into the field to dig for bones. If there enough bones for all buried in the field then all the dogs would succeed in their search no matter how fast or dexterous they were.

    Now imagine that one day the 100 dogs set off for the field as usual but this time they find there are only 92 bones buried.

    Some dogs who were always very sharp dig up two bones as usual and others dig up the usual one bone. But, as a matter of accounting, at least 8 dogs will return home bone-less.

    Now imagine that the government decides that this is unsustainable and decides that it is the skills and motivation of the bone-less dogs that is the problem. They are not skilled enough. They are idlers, bludgers and “bone-shy”.

    So a range of dog psychologists and dog-trainers are called into to work on the attitudes and skills of the bone-less dogs. The dogs undergo assessment and are assigned case managers. They are told that unless they train they will miss out on their nightly bowl of food that the government provides to them while bone-less. They feel despondent.

    Anyway, after running and digging skills are imparted to the bone-less dogs things start to change. Each day as the 100 dogs go in search of 92 bones, we start to observe different dogs coming back bone-less. The bone-less queue seems to become shuffled by the training programs.

    However, on any particular day, there are still 100 dogs running into the field and only 92 bones are buried there!

    You can find pictorial version of the parable here (for international readers this version was very geared to labour market policy under the previous federal regime in Australia and was written around 2001). I first screened this at a presentation that preceeded a talk by Tony Abbot, the then Federal Employment Minister now Opposition leader gave at the University as my guest.

    In the UK there are about 92 bones for every 100 dogs and in Spain 75 bones for every 100 dogs!

    The point is that fallacies of composition are rife in mainstream macroeconomics reasoning and have led to very poor policy decisions in the past.

    There are simply not enough jobs


  3. I think that we need to start looking at London as a separate economy from the rest of the UK within the M25 is a different country not only from a financial and work point of view but also social one as well, The population of London does not represent the UK as whole it truly is multicultural to the point of being its own nation. In order for the government to get a real picture of how people in the UK are suffering from the economic downturn they must first look at London and address those problems and then look at the rest of the UK and address those problems separately.

    I do not say that London is some elite society it is just vastly different from the country that it resides in. When you look at the upper level of management within London’s business’s its very much a culture of disdain if you grew up in the poorer areas regardless of what you may know your not likely to raise very high and the fact that wages continue to worsen while food and housing rise will only increase despondency in the capitols population.

    The problem with London’s housing is not that there are not enough houses its because every year we see more properties being consolidated into the hands of a few. You want to make housing affordable in London then you have to cap the amount of residential properties that people are allowed to own.

    If your town has 50 houses with 50 families house prices will be low but if you have a town with 50 houses and 40 of them are owned by one family and then other ten houses will increase in price because the other 40 families must compete to own them and this is the problem in London and the south east of England thanks to the buy to let model you have artificially high house prices which is impoverishing the lower classes. The only reason nothing will be done to stop this is because many British politicians are in the game themselves.


  4. Pingback: Remember the Real Divide – it’s Rich and Poor | Think Left

  5. Pingback: Frustration of Aspiration report: news stories - ilrnr

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