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Welfare Reform on the Web (June 2012): Community regeneration and development - UK

The Big Society Audit 2012

C. Slocock,

Civil Exchange, 2012

The Government's Big Society initiative must target poorer communities and young and ethnic minority people, working in genuine partnership with the voluntary sector, if it is to succeed. So finds the first ever independent audit of David Cameron's flagship programme, published almost two years to the day after the Coalition Government was formed. The Audit finds a 'Big Society gap' between different groups against key indicators. For example:

  • Deprived versus affluent communities: 51% of people in the most deprived areas say their neighbourhood pulls together to improve it, compared to 78% in the most affluent;
  • Younger and older people: 55% of 16-24 year olds say that people in their neighbourhood pull together, compared to 73% of people over 65; volunteers are more likely to be middle aged and middle class;
  • White and ethnic minority people: 52% of white people say that many people in their neighbourhood can be trusted, against 27% from ethnic minority backgrounds.
Government failure to get 'buy in' from others to the Big Society is a major potential obstacle to bridging that gap, the Audit finds, and the Government needs to work more closely with the voluntary sector, providing the right support, especially in deprived areas which are being particularly hit by Government cuts. Far from being strengthened in the first two years of the Big Society, the voluntary sector is facing 3.3 billion of cuts in public funding up to 2016. Voluntary organisations working with disadvantaged groups in deprived areas are more likely to depend on statutory funding but local authorities with the highest levels of deprivation in England suffered the deepest cuts in spending in 2011-2012.

Empowering local communities? An international review of community land trusts

T. Moore and K. McKee

Housing Studies, vol. 27, 2012, p. 280-290

Formed as non-profit, voluntary-led organisations, community land trusts (CLTs) acquire and manage land with the intention of holding it in trust and developing affordable housing and other community amenities. This policy review investigates the premise that CLTs offer a method of delivering affordable housing that empowers local communities and results in the democratic management of assets. In particular, the paper aims to critically analyse the emergence of CLTs in England against the landscape of the objectives, structure and operation of CLTs internationally, using the advanced developments in the USA and Scotland to compare and contrast between different countries.

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