Helping People to Help Themselves: Policy Lessons from a Study of Deprived Urban Neighbourhoods in Southampton
Journal of Social Policy, 2000, 29, 3, 355–373.
19 Pages Posted: 26 Dec 2015
Date Written: 2000
The aim of this paper is draw out some policy lessons from a study of self-help activity amongst 200 households in deprived urban neighbourhoods of Southampton. Commencing with a critique of the popular prejudice that promoting self-help should be opposed in case it leads to a demise of formal welfare provision, the paper then interrogates the empirical evidence to understand and explain the nature and extent of such work in deprived neighbourhoods. Finding that self-help is a crucial component of household coping practices, but that no-earner households are unable to benefit from this work to the same extent as employed households, the paper proposes both bottom-up and top-down solutions to tackle the barriers to participation in self-help amongst unemployed households. In particular, it calls for a modification to Working Families Tax Credit and the creation of Community Enterprise so as to recognise and value much of the self-help activity that currently takes place but remains unrecognised and unvalued.
Keywords: Informal sector, household work practices, livelihoods, economic development, England
JEL Classification: H26, J46, K42, O17
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation