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By Helen Jones

A substitute for the right-wing paradigm which has hijacked discussions of sophistication, this publication makes a speciality of the explicit ways that type inequalities occur themselves in Britain and exposes the hollowness if politicians' rhetoric over the classless society.

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Extra resources for Towards a Classless Society?

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Nevertheless, in terms of policy and 30 TONY NOVAK the state’s response to young people, Black youth figures highly, especially (as later chapters will show) in such areas as criminal justice policy, school exclusions and children and young people in care. As implementation of these areas of policy becomes more unrelenting and punitive, so those at the receiving end have their alienation and sense of abandonment by the state even further confirmed. This shift in policy, predicated on a view of ‘the underclass’, has had the effect of further reinforcing both the image and the position of such young people as a group at the margins of society.

Child accident rates have fallen dramatically among the better off, but have barely moved among the poorest families, hence the class divide is widening, so that children in class 5 are five times more likely to die in accidents than children in class 1. The risk of fire is much greater in low-standard homes and in bed-and-breakfast accommodation. Children in cheap cars without modern safety devices are more likely to be killed in road accidents. In older children the link between health and class is less pronounced than for other age groups, but it does not disappear.

Not surprisingly these changes had the greatest impact on workingclass young people, and especially on the poorest, who were more likely to be in need of state support. Starting in 1980, with the abolition of supplementary benefit to school-leavers until the start of the next academic term, progressive restrictions were imposed on young people’s entitlement to housing benefit, board and lodgings payments and other benefits, while tighter regulations were imposed 22 TONY NOVAK on their availability for work and their ability to engage in part-time education.

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