Today the Government are publishing a further group of reports presenting the findings from research projects commissioned by the previous Administration. There is a significant backlog of unpublished reports that were produced by the previous Government and over the next few months we will be publishing further reports in groups themed on particular topics.
The reports and findings are of general policy interest, but do not relate to forthcoming policy announcements. We are publishing these documents in the interests of transparency and as part of our freedom of information commitment to publish the results of all commissioned research. For transparency, all concluded research work is being published, though some reports may not be as complete or in the format that DCLG would normally require.
The 10 reports published below represent the findings from research projects at a total cost to taxpayers of £219,597. These findings cover the topics of immigration, the economy and regeneration.
(i) Impact of economic downturn on migration.
This discussion paper by A.E. Green reviews the evidence on the likely impact of an economic downturn on both international migration and migration in different parts of the UK, with particular focus on migrants from the A8 countries (of the 2004 accession to the EU). It observes that for 83% of A8 migrants, the main motivation for coming to Britain was to work and earn money. This report was commissioned in 2008 at a cost of £3,400.
(ii) Immigration and rural economies.
This report by Heather Wells and Paula Lucci considers the impacts and contributions of international migration to rural economies in the UK. The paper finds that there was a substantial increase in the size of the migrant population in rural areas in the four years before the recession, which was driven by a strong demand for migrant labour from particular industries. Immigration has had a significant but small negative impact on the wages of UK workers at the bottom of the occupational distribution. Challenges from immigration include pressure on existing local services and integration within local communities. This report was commissioned in 2009 at a cost of £24,275.
(iii) Measuring international and internal migration from the National Pupil Database.
This report by Ludi Simpson, et al. considers the dispersion of migrant pupils in the UK. The paper finds the number of immigrant pupils in UK schools has increased significantly in the four-year period to 2007-08 and that pupils of African origin tend to be concentrated in inner London and other major metropolitan areas while eastern European and other European pupils arrived since 2003 tend to be found in the more remote rural areas. A table in annex 2 gives a breakdown by local authority. This report was commissioned in 2010 by the last Administration at a cost of £78,500.
(iv) Economic Rationale for Spatial Policies or Why Place Matters.
This paper by Patricia Rice outlines why there are differences between places, and advocates policy that takes this into account. It considers that variations in outcomes for different areas are a result of regional trade and factor mobility, but seeks to explain the underlying differences between areas. This report was commissioned in 2007 at a cost of £2,034.
(v) Addressing the problem of worklessness: The role of regeneration.
This paper by Anne Green, with its focus on worklessness and regeneration considers the complex and challenging real-world roles of mainstream policies and area-based programmes, including the roles of local government, the community and employers. It notes that the neighbourhood level is an appropriate level for outreach to disadvantaged residents, and the voluntary sector can play an important role in facilitating community participation. Partnerships have been costly to develop and support, and have not generated the critical mass of support for the neighbourhoods that it was envisaged. This report was commissioned in 2009 as part of a series of four papers which together cost £11,622.
(vi) Regeneration—What are the problems and what can we achieve in addressing them? Neighbourhood level perspectives from the new deal for communities programme.
This paper by Paul Lawless, with its focus on neighbourhood renewal, draws on evidence from the evaluation of the new deal for communities programme to review the problems faced in the partnership areas and consider both process and change outcomes that regeneration programmes should seek to achieve. This report was commissioned in 2009 as part of a series of four papers which together cost £11,622.
(vii) Regeneration—What are the problems and what can we achieve in addressing them?
This paper by Pete Tyler, with its focus on local economic activity and regeneration, reviews what lies behind the problems faced by deprived places and notes that although rooted in a general failure of supply and demand mechanisms, problems tend to be multi-dimension and persistent and likely to require substantial policy intervention to make an impact. It anticipated that constraints on public expenditure would inevitably mean that regeneration initiatives would be operating in a more difficult environment. This report was commissioned in 2009 as part of a series of four papers which together cost £11,622.
(viii) Regeneration—How should the problem be addressed?
This paper by Stephen Syrett, reviews the weaknesses of past approaches to regeneration, pointing out the over-dominance of centralised structures, the neglect of education and training in deprived areas, the need for greater clarity over the role and relevance of area-based initiatives. Local capacity will only develop if greater scope and freedom is given to local actors to make their own priorities. This report was commissioned in 2009 as part of a series of four papers which together cost £11,622.
(ix) Modelling and forecasting county court claims and orders for mortgage repossessions.
This report by Professor John Muellbauer and Janine Aron was commissioned jointly by the former National Housing and Planning Advice Unit and the UK Spatial Economic Centre. The study explores the determinants of mortgage possession court orders as well as forecasting court orders on a regional basis for England and Wales from 2011 to 2015. It observed that the recent house price and credit boom of 2006-08 had increased the proportion of households with overstretched budgets and over-extended debt relative to their assets. The most important determinant of court claims and orders was found to be the debt to income ratio. This report was commissioned in 2009 at a cost of £30,366.[Official Report, 4 April 2011, Vol. 526, c. 11MC.]
(x) Housing supply revisited: Evidence from international, national, regional, local and company data.
This report by Michael Ball, et al. considers the responsiveness of housing supply to changes in prices and the degree to which planning restrictions and other factors limit this responsiveness. If found that factors other than planning supply influence the responsiveness of housing supply. It suggests that different planning targets are required for each local authority, to reflect local decision making processes. This report was commissioned in 2009 at a cost of £69,400.
At a time when public budgets must be reduced, the new Government want to ensure their research delivers best possible value for money for the taxpayer and that sums expended are reasonable in relation to the public policy benefits obtained. My Department has rigorous scrutiny and challenge processes for commissioned research.
New projects will continue to be scrutinised to ensure the methodology is sound and that all options for funding are explored at an early stage. This includes using existing work from other organisations, joint funding projects with other Departments or organisations and taking work forward in-house.
These reports and findings are of general policy interest, but do not relate to forthcoming policy announcements and are not a reflection of the current Government’s policies and priorities. DCLG is publishing these reports in the interests of transparency.
Copies of these reports are available on the Department for Communities and Local Government website. Copies have been placed in the Library of the House.