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SOCIAL CLASS IN THE UK How much does it impact on our lives?

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Presentation on theme: "SOCIAL CLASS IN THE UK How much does it impact on our lives?"— Presentation transcript:

1 SOCIAL CLASS IN THE UK How much does it impact on our lives?

2 AIMS OF PRESENTATION This presentation looks at Classical definitions of social class How social class impacts on our lifestyles and life chances Whether social class in the UK is changing

3 ARE WE ALL MIDDLE CLASS NOW? In the past 40 years the proportion of Britons who regard themselves as middle class has risen from 30 to 43%. According to a report from the Future Foundation think-tank, the working classes are in rapid decline, with the middle class poised to become the majority of the population by 2020. But, an estimated 90,000 children in Scotland live in poverty. Poverty in Scotland

4 A Upper middle class and managerial AB Lower middle class C1 Supervisory or clerical and junior managerial, administrative or professional C2 Skilled manual occupations D Manual labourers E Casual labourers, state pensioners, long term unemployed MARKETING BY SOCIAL CLASS Many businesses, prefer to use the definition of social class as provided by the National Readership Survey. This enables them to market their products towards the people most likely to buy them. Which social class do you think M&S targets? M&S Advert

5 Newspaper Daily Readers, January - June 2007 Social Class AB (%)Social Class DE (% The Guardian1,128,00060.66 The Independent792,00057.7 2.9 The Star1,786,0009.134 The Sun7,909,00010.833.1 NEWSPAPER READERSHIP BY SOCIAL CLASS Why do so few people from classes DE read The Guardian? Why do so few people from classes AB read The Sun?

6 CLASSICAL DEFINITIONS OF SOCIAL CLASS The sociologist who pioneered much of our thinking on social class was Karl Marx. While he lived in the 19th century, much of todays discussions of social class still revolve around Marxs language and his model of social class, deriving from a persons economic status.

7 THE TRADITIONAL WORKING CLASS Up until recently it was possible to identify a large number of people in the UK who were working class. They worked regular hours for an employer. They took pride in working and not relying on benefits. They lived in council housing which had a strong sense of community. Their children attended the local state school. As successful working class people have moved into the middle class, it is argued that the traditional working class is disappearing, being replaced by a more troubled group.

8 TROUBLED FAMILIES? The UK Government has adopted the term troubled families to describe this group. It believes that there are 120,000 households across England where children are not being properly looked after. The UK Government maintains that troubled families cost the taxpayer £9 billion every year. The UK Government has promised local authorities in England up to £4,000 to deal with each family: by reducing truancy, youth crime and anti-social behaviour, or putting parents back into work.

9 SCHEMIES? In Scotland, the characters in The Scheme have been said to represent a new underclass within traditional working class communities. Unwilling to work, addicted to drugs and alcohol and with none of the collectivist values of the old working class, the criminal and anti-social behaviour of this group is the focus of much Government attention. The Scheme has been criticised for sensationalising the activities of a small group of people who are unrepresentative of the wider community.

10 CLASS AND EDUCATION Education is often the key to social mobility. Not just formal qualifications, but soft skills, such as confidence and connections. But, do we all get an equal chance to have a good education? What are the factors that determine who does best at school?

11 LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION or Morningside?Kelvinside Where someone is brought up has a key part to play in social mobility. Kelvinside (Glasgow) and Morningside (Edinburgh) are desirable and expensive residential areas. And for good reason. Peer pressure? Access to a good school? Local facilities? Opportunities to socialise at home? Housing, education and social class are all bound up together.

12 MORE CHOICES MORE CHANCES It is estimated that in Scotland there are around 35,000 NEETS. The UK Government still uses the term, but the Scottish Government prefers to speak of More Choices, More Chances. Government research suggests that each new NEET dropping out of education at 16 will cost taxpayers an average of £97,000 during their lifetime. These figures include the costs of benefits, lost tax revenue, the extra cost of health and medical services, and the costs of their criminal activity. The Hunter Foundation was established in 1998 by Tom and Marion Hunter. The Foundation's focus is on investment in national educational programmes that, as described on its website, 'challenge stubborn, system wide issues that prevent children from achieving their potential'.

13 THE RICH GET RICHER Despite the recession, the 2012 Sunday Times Rich List reported that the cumulative wealth of the richest people in the UK has increased. The combined financial worth of the 100 wealthiest men and women in Britain now tops $675bn, a rise of 4.7 per cent since 2011. Growing divide between rich and poor

14 BUT POVERTY IS A WAY OF LIFE FOR MANY Meanwhile, a family living in poverty today has £10 per day with which to buy everything, from clothing to food. One in five children in Scotland lives in poverty. Poor Kids

15 IS THERE SOCIAL MOBILITY IN THE UK? It is the unholy alliance between home ownership and education policies that has done most to reduce the diversity of young peoples networks. The less well-off are ghettoised in enclaves of deprivation, with schools to which their near neighbours in more affluent catchments would not dream of sending their children. Anna Minton, author of Ground Control I believe that together we can create a Britain where individuals can rise as far as their talents can take them, and where the talents of each of us then contribute to the well being of all. Gordon Brown, June 2007 Depute Prime Minister Nick Clegg also wants to see more social mobility. But the UK is becoming more divided, not less.

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