Is Britain Pulling Apart?

Radical Statistics

2014 Conference and AGM

Saturday 8 March, 2014

Mechanics Institute, 103 Princess Street, Manchester M1 6DD

Videos and presentations now available! See below.

Print programme available to print.


From 8:30 – coffee & registration

9:25   Introduction and welcome from Tarani Chandola

9:30    Session 1

The first session will be in plenary.  Subsequent sessions will have a main speaker in plenary followed by the opportunity to attend panel sessions.

Is Britain Pulling Apart? Findings from the analysis of social distance [Presentation]

Paul Lambert, University of Stirling

Paul is the Principal Investigator on this ESRC funded project.  The study analyses the benefits, utilisation and stratification of social capital in the UK. It will pull apart the often conflicting dimensions of connectivity to understand which social ties hold the strongest influences; how diverse people’s networks are; levels of segregation and diversity across the multiple identities individuals possess (e.g., Christian, socialist, Times reader, swimmer); and the role of attraction and repulsion in determining whom we interact with.

Discussant: David Byrne, University of Durham

10:45 Coffee

11:15 Session 2

’White flight’? Evidence from the 2011 Census, and the threat to neighbourhood ethnicity and migration data beyond 2011 [presentation]

Nissa Finney, University of Manchester

Nissa’s work is about migration within Britain and ethnic inequalities. These themes join in her research to understand how and why internal migration experiences of ethnic groups differ, and what the consequences of this are for people and neighbourhoods. Her work uses qualitative and quantitative methods including analysis of Census data. Nissa is a Hallsworth Fellow at CCSR and a member of the ESRC Centre on Dynamics of Ethnicity (CoDE).

12:00 Panel sessions

Hungry in the UK?

Kingsley Purdam, Elisabeth Garratt Glass and Aneez Esmail, University of

In this ongoing research we are exploring the debates around food insecurity and
the use of foodbanks including amongst older people. Using survey data and a
series of case studies of foodbanks we examine the nature of food supply and use,
and the lives of people using foodbanks. The research is partly funded by
Manchester Institute for Collaborative Research on Ageing (MICRA) at the
University of Manchester and Manchester City Council.

A living wage rather than a fair wage: trade union politics and the rise of

Roger Seifert, Wolverhampton Business School

Roger’s main research is into changes in labour management in the public sectoralongside collective union-based resistance. The slogan ‘a fair days pay for a fair days work’ has long been part of a labourist set of assumptions about the workings of the labour market, what constitutes ‘fairness’ in a capitalist society, and incorporates some of the ideals of the Protestant ethic. The doctrine of the ‘living wage’ developed with coal miners in the late nineteenth century and represented a more radical approach to both the political economy of wages, and thereby set wider horizons for trade-union politics. All this remains relevant in the current historical epoch of labour movement weakness in the face of further attacks on living standards from a Conservative led coalition government.

The changing geography of the private rented sector in England [presentation]

Nigel de Noronha, University of Manchester

Between 2001 and 2011 the number of households living in the private rented
sector (PRS) in England has grown from one in ten to one in six. The PRS now
provides homes for more people than the social housing sector. The presentation
will explore the extent to which this transformation of the PRS might contribute to
new patterns of marginalisation and for whom.

12:45 Lunch

1:45 Session 3

The impact of austerity on gender equality [presentation]

Claire Annesley, University of Manchester

Claire’s work on gender equality looks at when gender equality policies get onto government agendas as well as the impact of austerity policies on equality between men and women. She is a member of the Management Committee of the UK Women’s Budget Group which produces regular gendered analysis of the impact of Government budgets, spending reviews and welfare reform.

2:45 Panel sessions

Marginalised majority populations and social cohesion

Dan Silver, Social Action Research Foundation

The Social Action and Research Foundation (SARF) have been researching white
working class communities in north Manchester as part of the Open Society
Foundation’s At Home in Europe project. The project focuses on advancing equality
for groups that are excluded from the mainstream of civic, political, and cultural life
in Western Europe including Europe’s Muslims and white working-class
communities. The initial findings will be presented exploring issues of identity and
belonging and how this impacts upon interactions at a local level.

Why are all the political parties bent on austerity and why is it wrong?

Larry Brownstein

Austerity is the major economic policy being implemented the world over. But the
UK is the one implementing it with the most zeal. It is the wrong program
implemented at the wrong time and aimed at the wrong people. Behind an
austerity program is a set of assumptions built into how an economy actually works,
referred to collectively as neoclassical, or neoliberal (in the US), economics.
Unfortunately for everyone concerned, these assumptions neither reflect reality nor
are they an accurate assessment of how our economy actually works. The sad thing
is that we have been here before – in the 1930s. It seems that no lessons were

Is the relative measure of child poverty a help or a hindrance? [presentation]

Graham Whitham, Save the Children

The relative income measure of child poverty has been subject to a number of
criticisms from think tanks and politicians in recent years. This is in spite of the
political consensus secured prior to the passing of the 2010 Child Poverty Act, which
requires the proportion of children living in relative poverty in the UK to be reduced
to less than 10% by 2020. Progress towards that target isn’t being made and both
relative and absolute child poverty rates are expected to increase considerably in
the coming years. This session will explore the extent to which the debate about the
relative income measure is acting as a distraction from efforts to reduce child
poverty in the UK.

15.30    Coffee 

16:00    Session 4

Inequalities in well-being in later life [presentation]

James Nazroo, University of Manchester

Inequality has been the primary focus of James’s research. His research on ageing has been focused on the patterns and determinants of social and health inequalities at older ages, and on routes into retirement and the impact of retirement on health and well-being. He is principal investigator (PI) of the fRaill programme, an interdisciplinary study of inequalities in wellbeing and frailty later life and will report on findings from that study. He is also co-PI of the English Longitudinal Study of Aging, which is a multi-disciplinary panel study of those aged 50 and older, and part of an international ‘family’ of similar studies.

17:00 Close

This conference is part of the RadStats weekend which also includes:

Friday 7th           5:00-9:00 pm Welcome reception, Humanities Bridgeford St, Manchester University
Saturday 8th      self-arranged meals – Britain’s largest ‘Chinatown‘ is only a few blocks away
Sunday 9th        10:00 am Radical Statistics AGM, Mechanics Institute
12:30 – 2:30 pm Feminist tour of radical Manchester

For programme queries please email the conference organiser, Nigel de Noronha.

For general inquiries email the RadStats administrator, Alistair Cairns.

A limited number of rooms at Manchester University Business School are now available for the discounted rate of £40 for a single room and £60 for a double / twin. Please email Alistair to request a room and for further details.Youth Hostels are around £25 for a night in a shared room. Further accommodations can be found at – although we advise using this site to find rooms and then booking directly with the hotel/b&b.