Using this definition as a starting point, one would assume that in the current economic climate, there are vast swathes of this country that are lacking the resources to flourish, thereby suffering from social exclusion. Poverty and social exclusion in deprived areas, of course, is by no means a new phenomenon, and when the Labour party came to power in the U.K in 1997, the concept was quickly taken by them up as a tool to achieve their own range of social goals. Almost as soon as the party had come to power, New Labour launched the Social Exclusion Unit (SEU) to analyse the reasons behind the explosion of, amongst other things, teenage pregnancy, homelessness, and child poverty. The New Commitment to Neighborhood Renewal: National Strategy Action Plan was launched in 2001, with action to be taken across six key areas- education, unemployment, health, crime and anti-social behavior, housing and the prevention of homelessness. A major part of this scheme was the Neighborhood Renewal Fund (NRF), with eight hundred million pounds spent on the eighty-eight most deprived areas of the country. Other initiatives under this strategy include the New Deal for Communities (NDC), which has given two billion pounds to thirty-nine of most deprived communities in order to find new ways to tackle deprivation, unemployment, and to improve services.
But what are the underlying reasons for social exclusion in these so-called deprived areas? It could be argued that through the questionable morality of those living in deprived areas (such as theft, violence, and anti-social behavior), people have actually excluded themselves from the mainstream, as opposed to any inherent structural inequality in society. But what makes people living in low-income areas more likely to exhibit anti-social behavior than those living in middle-class or rural areas? According to one report which evaluates the findings of the Anti-Social Behavior Task Force (Wood, 2004), the type of area where people lived was the strongest predictor of perceived high levels of anti-social behavior. Those in hard- pressed areas were far more likely to encounter problems than those in areas characterised by wealthy achievers. Offenders were generally groups of young people of both sexes. Wood states that the parties involved were often strangers, although from the local area. With rife poverty, low employment, and little opportunity of academic achievement, this behaviour is, whilst certainly anti-social, almost understandable from a group that feels let down and marginalized by both the government and society at large.
With the divide between the rich and the poor