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Excellent study of our capital city,
This review is from: Working Capital: Life and Labour in Contemporary London (Paperback)Livingstone's 2000 report, The State of London, said, "the prosperity of every Londoner is completely tied up with the city's role in the international economy." But most London workers produce goods or provide services that are used locally: only 19% of London's turnover is exported. The authors conclude, "the global and European roles together are still clearly much less significant for London than its continuing role as a national centre."
London was Britain's largest single manufacturing centre, but since 1962 it has lost 1.6 million manufacturing jobs. Its unemployment has worsened recently.
The authors attack Blair's approach to local government: "Within each local authority the proliferation of government ordained partnerships and specially focused programmes (by service, group and/or locality) is making a coordinated approach and 'joined up' governance harder than ever. ... our work has tended both to cast doubts on the efficacy of local programmes, and to underline the importance of a number of mainstream policy areas. ... Labour's pursuit of 'joined-up' action seems quite perversely to have brought ever more complex arrays of 'initiatives' which are short-term, unsustainable, uncoordinated and even contradictory. ... area-based approaches ... have been the staple of urban policy for the past 35 years, but rarely matched their promises with sustainable achievements. ... We are sceptical, however, about what has been achieved through the proliferation of health, education and other action zones."
Southwark, for example, has contracted out education and housing benefit administration, reducing its ability to coordinate policies. The council relies on private investment for regeneration, but most residents have not gained from the spectacular new South Bank. This kind of 'regeneration' is just like the old discredited 'trickle-down'.
The authors propose national programmes for "improving the supply of low- and moderate-income housing - and conditions in the existing stock of social housing - in ways that prevent this stock from being subsequently 'captured' by other groups; improving public transport provision while restricting the costs of such travel, so as to enhance particularly the mobility of disadvantaged groups; and raising performance in those state schools at the bottom of current league tables ..."
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