Memorandum by the Social Exclusion Unit
1. During its first three years, the Social
Exclusion Unit (SEU) has reported to the Prime Minister on five
Truancy and Exclusion (May 1998).
Neighbourhood Renewal (1998/2000/2001)
including 18 Policy Action Team reports.
Teenage Pregnancy (1999).
Bridging the GapNew Opportunities
for 16-18 year olds not in education, employment or training (1999).
2. The SEU is currently engaged in completing
a project looking at reducing re-offending by ex-prisoners, following
up initial work on young runaways, and starting new projects on
the educational attainment of children in care, and transport
and social exclusion.
3. We are still at the preliminary scoping
stages of the transport project. However, we expect that it will
be organised on similar lines to previous SEU projects.
4. The standard SEU methodology has been
to focus strongly on hard evidence relating to the topic in question,
consult widely with users, practitioners, academics and other
stakeholders, involve outside expertise through project teams
and working groups combining civil servants and practitioners,
draw on good practice and international experience, and develop
recommendations and an action plan with clear targets and timetables.
5. Transport was chosen as a topic because,
in a variety of SEU projects and other related work, transport
has been found to be a very significant barrier to full participation
in society. Poor transport services can prevent or discourage
people from accessing work, learning, shopping, and other essential
services and activities. The problems can be particularly acute
for some areas and groups, including rural areas, disadvantaged
neighbourhoods, disabled people, older people, young people, ethnic
minorities, and women.
6. The findings below shed some useful light
on the problems:
the Policy Action Team on Jobs found
that transport services and a reluctance to travel was an important
barrier to accessing work;
the SEU's work on 16 to 18 year olds
found that the cost and availability of transport could be an
important barrier to participating in education and training.
The same arguments apply to adult learners;
the Policy Action Team on Shopping
Access found that the growth of out of town shopping centres and
the closure of local stores had made it harder for people in disadvantaged
areas to get access to affordable and good quality food;
the lowest income group make the
greatest use of taxis or minicabs1.6 per cent of all journeys
taken compared with the GB average of 1.1 per cent.
Taxi use by low income households doubled between 1985-6 and 1996-8;
walking is the dominant mode of transport
for low income households. For low income households without a
car, 60 per cent of journeys are on foot; and
while car use overall has increased
sharply, nearly two households in three in the lowest 20 per cent
household income group does not own a car.
7. Over the next few weeks, the SEU will
be working with others to assemble a suitable project team and
identify the key issues, and questions for this project. A timetable
for the project will be set in the light of this.
13 DETR, Transport Statistics Bulletin, National
Travel Survey: 1996-98 update, TSO, 1999. Back