Select Committee on Work and Pensions Written Evidence


Proposed Additional Social Exclusion Measures

  Child mortality and child morbidity—both of these have a close association with social class and area deprivation. For example, those in social class V had 2.3 times the death rate of those in social class 1 in 1991-92 (Botting, 1997).

  Fatal child accidents on the roads and in the home—a strong relationship between social class and/or levels or area deprivation and childhood accident fatality has been demonstrated (Quilgars, 2001)

  Low birth-weight—this is one of the "Milestones" in the Social Justice Annual Report . . . a Scotland where everyone matters (The Scottish Executive, 2002).[121] Low-income households have higher rates of children born with low birth weight (Dattani, 1999)

  Dental cavities—dental decay among five-year-olds is one of the "Milestones" in the Social Justice Annual Report . . . a Scotland where everyone matters (The Scottish Executive, 2002). Dental decay among children is strongly related to social background (Moyniham and Holt, 1996)

  Obesity—children's eating habits appear to be related to social class and equivalised income. Research has found that children in the lower social classes are more likely to consume larger amounts of sweet foods, sugary drinks, crisps and chips, and less fresh fruit and vegetables that those in the higher social classes (Johnson, 2001)

  Self-esteem—children who grow up poor have lower self-esteem than their contemporaries do. They are also more likely to feel useless (Ermisch, Francesconi and Pevalin, 2002). The British Youth Panel Survey (BYP) contains a rich set of data about adolescents' subjective psychological well-being, ranging from the number of days the child feels to be unhappy to whether or not he/she enjoys taking exercise. For their study, Ermisch, Francesconi and Pevalin (2002) were able to use the data included in the BYP to construct a continuous measure of self-seteem combining the following five items: "I feel I have a number of good qualities", "I certainly feel useless at times", "I am a likeable person", "I am inclined to feel I am a failure", and "At times I feel I am no good at all".

  Teenage birth rate—not the teenage pregnancy rate—numerous studies have found a strong association between deprivation and young motherhood. But as Bradshaw (2001) points out the teenage pregnancy rate includes those that eventually end in abortion, and abortion and access to abortion are policy inputs which can be manipulated. Moreover, there is evidence that young women with higher expectations of education and employment are less likely to continue an unplanned teenage pregnancy (Innocenti, 2001). It is therefore better to use the teenage birth rate or the proportion of teenage pregnancies that end in births rather than the teenage conception rate.

  Leaving school at 16—there is evidence that poverty can have significant effect on school staying-on rates. For example, in 1999-2000 in Northern Ireland only 27% of pupils entitled to free school meals stayed on at school after year 12 compared to 48% of all pupils. Young people in poverty were also three times less likely to enter further or higher education on leaving school (DE, 2001)

  Passing exams with higher grades—This is one of the "Milestones" in the Social Justice Annual Report . . . a Scotland where everyone matters (The Scottish Executive, 2002).36 A recent DWP research report ((Ermisch, Francesconi and Pevalin, 2002) found that growing up poor reduced young men's chances of passing GCSEs with higher grades.

  Homelessness—this is one of the "Milestones" in the Social Justice Annual Report . . . a Scotland where everyone matters (The Scottish Executive, 2002). While the causes of homelessness are multi-faceted and complex, poverty and deprivation are precipitating factors (Jones, forthcoming). Moreover, Article 27 (3) states that "States Parties, in accordance with national conditions and within the means, shall take appropriate measures to assist parents and others responsible for the child to implement this right and shall in case of need provide material assistance and support programmes, particularly with regard to nutrition, clothing and housing."

  Proportion of children living in poor housing—children in lone parent, minority ethnic households and those on low incomes are particularly likely to live in poor housing (Quilgars and Wallace, 2002)

  Satisfaction with neighbourhood—neighbourhood dissatisfaction is associated with social hosing, social class, region, and household type (lone parents are the most dissatisfied) (Quilgars and Wallace, 2002)

121   Milestone 9: "bringing the poorest-performing of 20% of pupils in terms of Standard Grade performance, closer to the performance of all pupils." Standard Grade is equivalent to GCSEs. Back

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