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Presentation on theme: "1 11 THE UNEVEN IMPACT OF THE GLOBAL ECONOMIC RECESSION ON PLACES AND PEOPLE: THE ROLE OF POLITICS AND POLICY 40 Years of Policy and Politics: Critical."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 11 THE UNEVEN IMPACT OF THE GLOBAL ECONOMIC RECESSION ON PLACES AND PEOPLE: THE ROLE OF POLITICS AND POLICY 40 Years of Policy and Politics: Critical Reflections and strategies for the future Bristol, UK, 18–19 September 2012 Richard Meegan, Patricia Kennett, Gerwyn Jones and Jacqui Croft ESRC Grant Number: RES

2 INTRODUCTION Research project: The Uneven impact of the Economic Crisis on Cities and Households: Bristol and Liverpool compared Research team (SPS, University of Bristol and EIUA, LJMU) Focus here on policies and politics Argument: –recessions pressure points exposing and testing political positions – politics and policies - and their underlying economic theories –local responses conditioned by national- local state relationships –local context conditions national policy

3 40 YEARS – 4 RECESSIONS 1.Mid-1970s: last gasp Keynesianism 2.Early 1980s: Neoliberalism - monetarist experiment tried and failed 3.Early 1990s: Neoliberalism post-Lawson boom 4.Late 2000s Great (double dip) Recession – Keynesianism revisited or strange non- death of neoliberalism (Crouch, 2010)?

4 40 years - four recessions in the UK GDP annual % change, and Unemployed Persons, Aged 16 and Over, 1971 – 2011

5 The four post-war recessions in the UK: GDP annual % change, and UK public spending as a % of GDP, 1971–2011

6 UK Net Borrowing £m (excl. financial interventions)

7 DIFFERENT POLITICAL & ECONOMIC INTERPRETATIONS OF CURRENT CRISIS 5 groups (Gamble, 2009) – Market Fundamentalists – National Protectionists – Regulatory Liberals – Cosmopolitan Liberals – Anti-Capitalists Contested theories – Freshwater versus saltwater economists – Orthodox vs. political economists (Marxist and Green)

8 DIFFERENT POLITICAL & ECONOMIC INTERPRETATIONS OF CURRENT CRISIS/2 Neoliberal politics/policies tested to destruction - with Great Recession administering coup de grace? YET Strange non-death (Crouch, 2012)

9 POLICY RESPONSES - EU Regulatory liberal Combination of: – financial stability measures – fiscal consolidation programmes – structural reforms to boost smart, sustainable and inclusive growth (Europe 2020); and, increasingly – reinforcing economic governance overriding imperative to tackle sovereign debt issues in Eurozone (UK outside looking in) concerted inter-state political response different to 1930s national protectionism

10 POLICY RESPONSES – EU/2 Within EU (Davies et al, 2011): 3 main categories of national government responses – support for the financial sector and system – monetary policy – discretionary fiscal policy in some cases fiscal and monetary policy interventions combined with cuts in public sector expenditure and social welfare

11 POLICY RESPONSES – UK UNDER LABOUR (Third term ) Interventionist and regulatory (with some Keynesian overtones): nationalising banks/ regulating financial system (e.g. one-off levy on bank bonuses) bringing forward capital investment projects jobs initiative for young people (Future Jobs Fund) vehicle scrappage scheme monetary policy - quantitative easing and support for Bank of Englands decision to lower interest rates (to lowest level for over 300 years) fiscal policy - including temporary reduction in VAT and new top rate for income tax

12 POLICY RESPONSES – UK UNDER COALITION (2010 -) Market fundamentalist, neo-liberal: policy focused on reduction of government borrowing deficit (from recession peak in 2009 of just under 48% to 39% by 2016) public spending cuts monetary policy: continued quantitative easing and support for low interest rates fiscal policy: increased VAT and personal allowances for income tax, reduced Corporation Tax, with top rate for income tax to be reduced next year austerity versus growth

13 SUB-NATIONAL RESPONSES – EUROPEAN CITIES URBACT SURVEY (Guidorn et al, 2010) cities/ 24 European countries 70% had implemented measures of some sort 4 key factors influencing response: – national context – degree of decentralisation and financial autonomy – legal power of cities to act – national and local political expectations of cities role

14 SUB-NATIONAL RESPONSES – UK CITIES Degree of decentralisation and financial autonomy/power of cities to act been important 1980s recession: combined with uneven spatial impact produced polarised local government responses (Gordon et al, 2009) e.g. Liverpool - laid ground for Militant opposition to Thatcher government/ public spending cuts coincided with reductions in local government power reflected in urban policy e.g. Liverpool got Development Corporation

15 SUB-NATIONAL RESPONSES – UK CITIES (2) 1990s recession interventions limited by local tax reform and rate capping lobbying of central government for partnership role and challenge regeneration funding programmes e.g. City Challenge: Liverpool got it, Bristol tried and failed

16 SUB-NATIONAL RESPONSES – UK CITIES (3) Current recession Mix of measures using central government funding and more locally designed ones implemented and financed by City Councils, RDAs (RIP), URCs/EDCs Currently: balancing act mitigating impact of public spending cuts and exploiting localism growth agenda in context of dismantling of regional economic development architecture

17 SUB-NATIONAL RESPONSES – UK CITIES: BRISTOL & LIVERPOOL Bristol spending cuts - some cuts passed on to voluntary sector but less than Liverpool West of England LEP & Bristol City Deal elected Mayor (following referendum) Liverpool massive cuts in spending – exacerbated by loss of area-based grants/ protecting core services – but reductions in others some cuts passed on to voluntary sector - impacting Big Society/ pulls out of Big Society Vanguard Areas job cuts (voluntary to date) Liverpool City Region LEP and City Deal elected Mayor (without referendum)

18 SPENDING CUTS - LIVERPOOL... weve been hit the worst of all the core cities, or, indeed, the worst in the country, for two consecutive years. The principle reason for that... is that theyve taken most of the funding cuts from lines of funding that were allocated towards deprivation. So, I mean, putting it simply, the Tories regarded it as funny money... so that meant that the cuts are spread very unevenly and, effectively speaking, the more deprived you are as a local authority, the harder youve been hit (Local councillor, Liverpool, February 2012)

19 Cuts in Spending Power vs. Indices of Deprivation

20 BIG SOCIETY? - LIVERPOOL In 2009 we laid off about half a dozen people and at the beginning of this financial year [April 2011] we laid off 60% of our staff people out the door.... If the City doesnt have the money and were not saving babies, then were not going to be a priority. And lots and lots of organisations found themselves taking cuts. And some are being told Well we want a 7% plus reduction year on year over the next four years. Well that means 7% over four years, thats surely getting on for a 30% cut in your prices. Who can cut their prices by that when the service is 80 to 90% human labour? (Chief Executive, local voluntary sector organisation, September 2011)

21 CONCLUDING COMMENTS Recessions test political positions and their underpinning economic theories Neoliberalism been tested in the UK and failed but strange non-death? Current governments economic programme and in the debates it has provoked over austerity versus growth testify to this Local responses conditioned by central-local government relationships

22 CONCLUDING COMMENTS (2) Bristol and Liverpool as examples of local policy response: from ameliorative measures for businesses and households to coping with public spending cuts and localism growth agenda: o cuts hitting Liverpool particularly hard o VCS also being hit in both cities – undermining Big Society? o City deals – and Elected Mayors - in both


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