Public responses to the growth of unemployment in the United Kingdom, with particular reference to action at the local scale

McArthur, Andrew Alexander (1984) Public responses to the growth of unemployment in the United Kingdom, with particular reference to action at the local scale. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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The development of local economic initiatives is a fast growing area of activity and systematic evaluative research is required to assess the effects and possibilities of action at this scale. A dominant theme of major public sector regeneration policy during the late 1970s and early 1980s has been that by incurring heavy investment in providing serviced sites and premises for small enterprise in depressed local economies the collapse of large scale manufacturing employment in these areas can be replaced by a dynamic small firm sector with a strong potential for employment growth. However, the results of research into the local employment impact of firms occupying new public sector premises in the Clydeside conurbation suggests that policies of this sort have only a modest impact on the emergence of genuinely new firms and jobs, will be unable to compensate for the scale of job loss, and are particularly ineffective as measures to reduce local unemployment rates and provide jobs for the long term unemployed. Other evaluative work on the employment impact of economic self-help and community initiatives - an area which has received fewer resources and political commitment than the promotion of traditional small firms - suggests that unconventional forms of economic activity potentially offer more effective ways of generating work and incomes for marginal groups in the labour market living in deprived communities if resources and support more suited to their requirements were forthcoming. Although the potential of locally based action is inevitably limited in that many of the problems faced have their roots in the fluctuations of national and international economies, the prospect of developing more effective approaches to economic and social regeneration at the local scale would be enhanced by a more favourable economic, political and policy climate geared to widening the scope for initiatives relevant to people and communities excluded from work and the benefits of many contemporary policies. The social security system, manpower policy and economic strategies in general could become more supportive and facilitative of wealth generating activity outside full time employment and the formal economy, attitudes to public expenditure could be rethought to allow resources to be used in new ways to create enterprise and employment in depressed localities, and the institutions of higher education could develop a valuable role in evaluating new policies and providing the trained manpower necessary to staff agencies working at the local level in new and challenging ways. Those operating at an urban scale could develop more effective policy responses if they were able to use the current disparate range of economic and employment programmes more flexibly and develop integrated economic strategies by co-ordinating the resources available for local action. These could be used in part to stimulate new and unconventional forms of productive activity which combine both economic and social benefits and which are tailored specifically with the unemployed and depressed communities in mind. (Abstract shortened by ProQuest.).

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Labor economics, labor relations, social structure.
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences
Supervisor's Name: Donnison, Prof. David
Date of Award: 1984
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1984-71268
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 10 May 2019 10:49
Last Modified: 10 Sep 2021 13:11
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.71268

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