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Social Justice in 2016

Earlier this week the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) held an intimate reception in the House of Commons where we looked ahead to 2016. The CSJ will be working hard to encourage the Government to make a historic commitment to social justice in 2016. This Government could finally break the cycle of poverty – something no Government, left or right, has ever achieved before.

Make 2016 the year of 'Universal Support'

We want the Government to tackle the root causes of poverty in Britain and to use the 2016 Budget and Autumn Statement to align its major social programmes with its new Life Chances Agenda. The Troubled Families programme, the Work and Health Programme and Universal Support should all be redirected to support family stability, narrow the educational achievement gap, assist recovery from addiction, improve financial literacy for those carrying unmanageable personal debt, and help employment. All three programmes are already funded but now need to be realigned so that they address the root causes of poverty with a relentless focus on the Life Chances outcomes. The Government has been hugely successful in rolling out Universal Credit and making it the dynamic benefit it is; 2016 should be the year of Universal Support.

The CSJ will be pushing hard for 7 big social justice policies in 2016:

1. Eradicate the Couple Penalty: There is a disincentive in the welfare system for couples to build long term stable families. Some working couples can still receive more when living apart than living together as a family.

2. Target Family Stability Support  where it is most needed: The Government spends only 1.5p for every £100 of social harm caused by family breakdown. The CSJ is calling on the Government to invest £15 million on targeted relationship support, tripling the amount the Government currently spends on this area.

3. Children's Centres to become 'Family Hubs' : To reverse family breakdown the Government should convert Children’s Centres to Family Hubs which would offer tried and tested relationship support interventions.

4. Expand recovery programmes for addicts:  Across the country almost 50,000 heroin addicts have been ‘parked’ on state-supplied methadone for more than four years. There should be an ambition to extend abstinence-based residential treatment to all people suffering from addiction so as to help them recover and rebuild their lives. The CSJ is calling on the Government to fund a new generation of care through a Treatment Tax of 1p on every unit of alcohol sold in off licenses.

5. Financial literacy support for Universal Credit: Serious personal debt keeps people poor. We are asking the Government to align services targeted at individuals at risk of serious personal debt with the process of claiming Universal Credit.

6. Extending the role of outstanding primary schools into critical early years provision: We need to stop poorer children falling behind before their first full day of school. Outstanding primary academies in the poorest areas should be incentivised to set up early years provision and the Government should help the best academy providers into the worst performing areas.

7. Support full time work as the best route out of poverty:
Universal Credit reforms will ensure that it always pays to work. Full time work and upskilling is the best route out of poverty. If the Government wants to turn lives around we need a renewed commitment to helping those in receipt of Universal Credit increase their skills and move from part time to full time work.

CSJ Policies Adopted in New Government Sports Strategy

The Government has announced the publication of its new Sports Strategy and we are delighted that it reflects many of the recommendations contained within the CSJ’s Sport for Social Good paper published earlier this year and launched by Sajid Javid MP (pictured launching the CSJ Sport for Social Good paper). The CSJ called for the Government to put social good at the heart of a new strategy and this has been taken up by the Prime Minister who introduced the new strategy by saying: “First, we will be much bolder in harnessing the potential of sport for social good”. 

The Government Sports Strategy can be read here
The CSJ Report – Sport for Social Good can be read here

CSJ in the News

CSJ Chief Executive, Baroness Stroud appeared on ITV Meridian news discussing poverty in coastal towns. 

The Times featured CSJ research in an article on parenting and 'poor, white children' and differing social outcomes amongst ethnic groups. Read here (£)

CSJ Blogs

Alex Burghart: The Children Growing up in a Pinball Machine

This week the Prime Minister made a big announcement on Children’s Services. In July CSJ Director of Policy, Alex Burghart, wrote exclusively for ConservativeHome on CSJ data which showed children in care being passed around like ‘pin balls’ and recommended strong local authorities be allowed to take over weaker providers of Children’s services. To read Alex’s blog click here

CSJ Policy: Finding their Feet: Equipping care leavers to reach their potential

Cara Usher-Smith: Social Mobility, why wait until 18?

CSJ Deputy Director, Cara Usher-Smith, responds to the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission Report published this week and argues we need to refocus on life chances amongst younger children. For Cara’s blog post click here

Lucy Atkinson: Giving Poorer Children the Best Possible Start in Life

CSJ Researcher, Lucy Atkinson, responds to new research which shows pre-school education helps overcome early disadvantage amongst the poorest children. Click here for Lucy’s blog post

CSJ Policy: Closing the Divide: Tackling educational inequality in England

Lucy Kinder: Putting Families at the heart of Rehabilitation

Michael Gove is set to put families at the centre of prison reforms. The CSJ welcomes this and Lucy Kinder explains why this is the right move by the Justice Secretary. Click here for Lucy’s blog post.

CSJ Alliance Charity: North and South London Cares

The CSJ is unique amongst think tanks in having an alliance of over 350 grassroots charities and small voluntary organisations that are working to tackle social issues in Britain.

Loneliness and isolation are brought into focus at this time of year. CSJ Award Winners, North and South London Cares work to tackle isolation across London. Click here to watch a short film about their work. 

North and South London Cares work with 1,800 older people and 2,000 signed up volunteers to create communities where young neighbours can meet their older neighbours on a regular basis. Through their varied programme of film nights, new tech classes, dinner parties, and one-to-one interactions they connect old and young neighbours. Their work has had such an impact on those they work with, with 86% feeling more able to appreciate the world.

CSJ Researcher, Lucy Atkinson volunteered with South London Cares recently:

“Last week, I went to my first (of many) social events run by South London Cares – a festive film night held in Walworth. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know some of my older neighbours in South London, and I’m already looking forward to volunteering next week.”

There are many opportunities for volunteering, to find out more please go to their website for North London: www.northlondoncares.org.uk and South London: www.southlondoncares.org.uk