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To what extent is there a British underclass? Essay

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There is an underclass in Britain and ethnic minorities are over represented in it. Ethnic minorities occupy the least desirable jobs for worst pay, they leave in poor housing, poor schooling for their children. This leads to a cycle of poverty. According to webrian, there is a dual labour market; Rex and Tomlinson believe that there are two distinctive labour markets in Britain. They recognise the ethnic minorities are represented in the second labour market. J. Rex says that there is a black underclass in Britain as a result of the nature of employment.

Black people are concentrated in jobs like transport (bus/ tube drivers) and cleaners, women as low level nurses. Marxist would argue that the reason why ethnic minorities are in the position that they are in is because Britain is a capitalist society. Oppenheim (1993) lists some of the reasons why there has been an increase in poverty over the last few decades. He argues that there has been an increase in unemployment between 1979 and 1986 unemployment tripled to over 3 million people.

The nature of unemployment has changed due to the rapid growth of part time jobs and the rise of low pay flexible workforce. Also the number of single parent families has risen from 9000,000 in 1981 to 1,300,000 in 1991. Which most of these family’s women head, so women are more likely to fall into the cycle of poverty. S. Castles and G. Kosack, both Marxist s did a study on immigrant workers and class structure in Western Europe. They found that in most countries concerned, immigrants shared the same position; they have the poorest condition and lowest status in every social sphere.

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In the labour market, immigrants are offered the lowest pay, the worst working condition an the lowest degree of security this leads to immigrants having difficulty maintain housing, they live in the worst condition and they live in the older slum areas of large cities. They then enter a cycle of poverty. There are too types of groups in the working class, one were the workers are better condition and higher stratum; the other is most unprivileged and exploited. In Britain today, some people in the underclass are trapped in a cycle of deprivation. An article from the guardian website showed that the government in Britain are tackling poverty.

They want to get people away from drugs and their problems with getting a job. Tony Blair made a pledge to get 250,000 unemployed young people into work. Lydia Morris carried out a research in Hartlepool, an area where there has been a decline in manufacturing industry and a large-scale rise in unemployment. Morris studied three groups of unemployed workers. She found out that the people that she studied were nearly all white. But Morris’s work has been criticized that the research was done in only one part of the country, where ethnic minorities were not heavily represented.

Pikington 1992 argues that west Indians and Asian men are more concentrated in semi-skilled work, and have higher average rates of employment than white males. A hard-hitting report from the child poverty action group found that around a third of all children are living in poverty. But the children that are more disadvantaged are ethnic minority groups. 73 per cent of Bangladeshi and Pakistani children live in income poverty and 63 per cent of black African children and 40 per cent of Caribbean children live in income poverty.

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