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Review of Sub-national economic development and regeneration for

Comprehensive Spending Review: contribution from the Oxfam UK Poverty


Programme

About Oxfams UK Poverty Programme


The UK Poverty Programme aims to strengthen public and political will to tackle
poverty and inequality. Focussing on gender and race equality, sustainable
livelihoods, and asylum seeker/refugee protection, we seek to transform public
attitudes towards people in poverty and to support them to exercise their rights. We
work in Wales, Scotland and the North of England, where poverty levels remain high.
Oxfam brings to the UK its experience of approaches used in international
development, such as gender analysis, empowerment, and participatory methods,
For more information about the UKPP, see www.oxfamgb.org/ukpp

The UK Poverty Programmes work on equality and regeneration

The UK Poverty Programmes experience has been that both economic growth and
neighbourhood renewal programmes pay insufficient attention to the gender
dimensions of poverty, and are consequently not as effective as they could be.
There is continuing evidence that women including those who are lone parents,
pensioners, and low-paid part-time workers1 - are the majority in the poorest groups
in the UK, and that women and ethnic minorities are over-represented in
regeneration areas.2 Women, particularly from black and minority ethnic groups,
face additional barriers (eg. lack of confidence, limited access to the labour market,
and difficulties related to language or custom).

Our work on gender and regeneration and neighbourhood renewal aims to develop
the skills of regeneration practitioners in gender awareness and analysis, through
direct training in the North of England, and input to other mainstream training of
practitioners. We are also encouraging national decision-makers to develop and
implement national gender guidelines to ensure more effective regeneration practice
on the ground. We believe these initiatives will improve services for men and women
in areas of greatest deprivation.

Our submission

This response to the Treasury Review of Sub-National Economic Development and


Regeneration replies to the last of the five key review questions: What other
changes may be needed to improve the effectiveness of sub-national policy
delivery? It also contributes to the specific remit in the Terms of Reference build on
existing work to identify the key drivers of neighbourhood renewal and regeneration,

1
Gender and poverty in Britain, Bradshaw et al, EOC Working Paper Series No 6, date, web ref
2
Rich mix: inclusive strategies for race and regeneration in urban regeneration programmes, Darke
and Brownill, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, date, web ref

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addressing in particular how socially excluded groups and deprived areas can both
share in and contribute to sub-national economic growth. We suggest that closer
examination of what is happening to women and men, particularly in BME groups, in
the most deprived communities could release economic potential, and contribute
towards progress on tackling pockets of deprivation. We make the case for gender
analysis as a key tool in providing better information for planning, illustrating this with
evidence of key issues affecting economic growth in the most deprived communities
employment, transport, crime and liveability.

Making the case for gender analysis


None of the documents evaluating progress in economic and regeneration
development, quoted as source documentation for the Review, use a systematic
gender analysis. There are few references to the different situation of women and
men or the need for gender-specific initiatives, although the Treasury has
recommended its use in the Gender Analysis of Expenditure Project Final Report:
gender analysis can contribute to the evidence base which is used to inform policy
development, implementation and evaluation.3

Gender analysis provides a useful way of assessing what is happening to women


and men in the most deprived areas, and whether measures to stimulate economic
growth are targeting men and women differently according to their work patterns,
availability and skills. If carried out, such analysis can produce very significant
results. For instance, a study of the labour market in the North West identified that if
discrimination could be removed, the North West economy could be functioning up to
25% more effectively than at present, and instead of being 10% below the UK
average, the North West would be more than 10% above it. 4

Evidence: employment
1. The labour market situation of women is not necessarily improved by local
area regeneration initiatives, and in some cases, has worsened5 - even
though they are in place. According to a recent study by Sheffield Hallam
University6, while in low quality and insecure jobs, women were unwilling to
take the financial risks involved in moving off benefits, and childcare was
beyond their financial means. However, they were keen to work, so lack of
employment was not their choice. The local economy was not benefiting from
their valuable skills. This was also true for ethnic minority women. 7

2. Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council with Oxfam and South Bank
Womens Centre surveyed use of their Job Connect service by gender, found
that 80% of users were men, and as a result ran an outreach programme to
encourage women to access job opportunities.

3
http://www.womenandequalityunit.gov.uk/research/gender_analysis.pdf
4
Measuring the economic contribution of Equalities Communities in the North West, SQW Consulting
5
Gender and Employment in Local Labour Markets, Sue Yeandle et al, Sheffield Hallam University
2006.
6
Addressing womens poverty: local labour market initiatives, Karen Escott and Lisa Buckner, Gender
and Employment in Local Labour Markets Project
7
Ethnic Minority Women and access to the Labour Market, Sue Yeandle, Bernadette Stiell and Lisa
Bucknes

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3. A gender analysis can also reveal specific actions to reduce the economic
and social exclusion of men as well as women. On the Gellideg estate in
Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, the Gellideg Foundation Group (GFG) and Oxfam
carried out a gender impact assessment of the most disadvantaged. They
identified that unless training is work-related, men are often unwilling to
consider it, as paid work is central to their self-esteem. The GFGs
programme challenged gender stereotyping in employment and education on
the estate. 8

4. The economic and social contributions of women in the home, and others with
no role in the formal economy, is substantial. If the same proportion of women
to men worked in higher-level occupations, with higher-level skills and
equivalent earnings, the gross income that women as a group might earn
could be as high as 16 billion annually9.

Evidence: transport
1. The Manchester Womens Networks study of gender and transport
established that public transport systems were ineffective in meeting the
needs of women on poor estates, and that BME women did not use public
transport because they experienced racism and found it unsuitable to their
needs10. Lacking mobility, women are less likely to work, with consequent
impact on economic growth targets.

2. Following a survey of gender, age and public transport use in a city in the
Republic of Ireland, new services were introduced which targeted women and
older people. This led to 35% increase in usage of public transport, and 13%
increase in city centre economic activity.11

Evidence: crime and liveability


1. A gender analysis of crime statistics carried out for Oxfam in collaboration
with the police in Crosby Neighbourhood Pathfinder, Humberside, found that
Bangladeshi women were afraid to move out of their homes for fear of petty
crime and nuisance, for which they assumed young white men were
responsible. In reality most anti-social behaviour orders in the area were
served on young white women. This analysis facilitated better information
about offenders and victims of crime, making it possible to tackle social
exclusion more effectively by recruiting more women police officers to reduce
fear.

2. A gender analysis of men and womens different fears of crime could lead to
different solutions in area-based regeneration programmes. For example,
mens greatest fear is vehicle theft; womens is rape and physical attack, and
domestic violence accounts for one in four incidents of violent crime.12
Different solutions are needed for men and women.

8
Fifty voices are better than one, Oxfam and the Gellideg Foundation Group, 2004, web ref
9
North West Development Agency report 2006
10
Towards Gender Sensitive Transport Services, Manchester Womens Network GEM Project 2006
11
Quoted in EOC paper on gender equality and neighbourhoods for DCLG, 2006
12
Ibid

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3. The Womens Design Service has trained ethnic minority women in
Manchester, Bristol and London to survey their areas to assess safety and
has recommended small but significant changes to local partnership bodies,
improving the mobility of the women.

Recommendations:
To improve the effectiveness of neighbourhood deprivation measures and further
boost economic growth, Oxfam recommends the following policy and practice
changes:

o HM Treasury to use gender budgeting techniques to reveal gender and race


inequality as a step towards releasing greater economic potential, and
contribute to progress on tackling pockets of deprivation in neighbourhood
renewal programmes.

o Subsequently, HM Treasury to encourage other Government Departments,


particularly the Department for Communities and Local Government, to
develop and implement gender guidelines in relation to their spending as part
of requirements under the Comprehensive Spending Review.