Monday 2 July 2012
LASTING LEGACY OR MISSED OPPORTUNITY?
London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) teams up with poverty charity to test promise of Olympic regeneration
On Monday 2nd July, shadow employment minister Stephen Timms will host fellow MPs and peers at the House of Commons for the launch of initial findings into a major study assessing the impact of Olympic regeneration.
The research, led by LSE’s Professor Anne Power CBE, was commissioned by poverty charity Elizabeth Finn Care, which in recent years has given over £220,000 in grants to residents in Newham and the boroughs neighbouring the Olympic Park.
Malcolm Tyndall, a director at Elizabeth Finn Care, said: “It was Jack Straw, following the success of London’s bid in 2005, who said ‘The Games will transform one of the poorest and most deprived areas of London. They will create thousands of jobs and homes.’
“As a charity working at the coalface of financial need, Elizabeth Finn Care is acutely aware of how much hope the Olympics is inspiring in local people. We want to examine whether all that was promised, is delivered, and if not, use this research to inform future regeneration projects to ensure they work for the whole community.”
The study commenced in early 2012 with an examination of Newham prior to the announcement of the successful bid in 2005. LSE researchers then compared these results with available data up to the present day*.
Initial findings from the research show the scale of deprivation in Newham – and the scale of what needs to be done to ensure the promised Olympic legacy is achieved:
· Annual household income rose between 2006 and 2011, but more slowly than in London or nationally. In 2011, incomes were lower than London and similar to the national average (Newham £26,681; London £31,935; national £26,615).
· Newham saw much larger increases in unemployment between 2005 and 2010 than the rest of London, but less than the rest of the UK (increases = Newham 44%; London 21%; national 59%). In 2005, the unemployment rate was already double the national average and much higher than the rest of London (Newham 13.7%; London 8.8%; national 7.8%).
· There has been an increase in the number of enterprises in the borough between 2008 and 2011 whereas London and England saw a reduction (Newham increase 6%; London decrease 0.4%; England decrease 4%).
· The 1990s saw very poor education attainment levels. Pupils achieving 5 GCSEs A*-C: Newham 23%; national 46%. There had been a huge improvement by 2005: Newham 51%; national 57%. This improvement continued after the announcement in 2005 and Newham has now overtaken the national average.
· Total crime has fallen since 2005, including decreases in violent crime and criminal damage (violent crime decrease from 32.79 offences per 1000 population to 22.31; criminal damage decrease from 18.29 to 15.27). However, there has been a large increase in drug offences (2.9 offences per 1000 population to 10.89).
· Private rents are much lower than in surrounding boroughs despite the Olympics (Hackney, Tower Hamlets) and cheaper than the London average (mean monthly average for 2-bed property: Newham £833; London £980; Hackney £1,135; Tower Hamlets £1,196).
· Increases in house prices since the announcement of the Olympics have been marginal, despite a much larger increase in London prices (3.5% increase in Newham 2005-2012; 32.5% increase in London; 2.2% increase nationally).
· There has been a year-on-year decrease in council housing stock since 2005 (22,992 properties to 17,547 by 2012). However, Housing Association stock now stands at 13,065, up from 10,839 in 2005.
Mayor of Newham Sir Robin Wales said: “The Host Boroughs have fought tooth and nail to make sure the social and economic legacy of the Olympics is not forgotten. Long after the medals have been won and the party is over we want to see improvements to the lives of our residents.
For example, Newham set up our employment service Workplace in 2007 to take advantage of the upcoming regeneration of the borough. Since then we’ve helped 13,000 residents into employment, many of whom were long-term unemployed. This includes securing more than 5,000 Olympics jobs for Newham residents and 2,500 jobs in the new Westfield Stratford City. On top of this there’ll be 3,000 new homes in the Athletes Village, with thousands more to come in the surrounding area.
Newham and the Host Boroughs will continue to do our bit to secure a lasting legacy for our residents. What these initial findings show is that legacy will not happen by chance. Government must focus investment on making a real change for our residents.”
Professor Anne Power CBE was keen to point out that much of what has been promised for Olympic legacy may not be seen until long after the athletes have gone home.
She commented: “The benefits of Olympic regeneration cannot be assessed in weeks or even months. It is intended that this initial analysis will form only a small part of a longer-term study into the impact of the Games on surrounding communities. We look forward to delivering a substantive report next summer and continuing our work with Elizabeth Finn Care over a number of years, so that the true legacy of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity can be decisively demonstrated.”
A full report, taking into account what happens in the year after the closing ceremony will be delivered in August 2013.
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* Data gathered from various sources including ONS Neighbourhood Statistics, NOMIS, GLA, Shelter, Newham Household Panel Survey.
Notes to Editors:
About Elizabeth Finn Care
· Elizabeth Finn Care is a national charity that helps people in financial need to improve their lives.
· Elizabeth Finn Care gives direct financial support to people from over 120 occupational backgrounds, and through Turn2us helps millions more people in the UK to access the money available to them through welfare benefits, charitable grants and other financial help.
· Since being founded in 1897, Elizabeth Finn Care has given away over £130m in direct financial assistance to people in need. In 2009/2010 over 3,500 British and Irish citizens received grants totalling almost £4m from Elizabeth Finn Care.
· Elizabeth Finn Care is a charity registered in England and Wales: 207812 and Scotland: SC040987.
About the London School of Economics
· The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) studies the social sciences in their broadest sense, with an academic profile spanning a wide range of disciplines, from economics, politics and law, to sociology, information systems and accounting and finance.
The School has an outstanding reputation for academic excellence and is one of the most international universities in the world. Its study of social, economic and political problems focuses on the different perspectives and experiences of most countries. From its foundation LSE has aimed to be a laboratory of the social sciences, a place where ideas are developed, analysed, evaluated and disseminated around the globe. Visit www.lse.ac.uk
for more information.