Serving Deprived Communities in a Recession

Serving Deprived Communities in a Recession

Assessing the impact of local government contraction on vulnerable people and deprived places

This project focuses on the consequences for vulnerable people and deprived places of what has been described as "worst financial settlement in living memory" for local government.  The first scoping phase of the project revealed the severity of budget cuts in England, especially for deprived urban authorities. It also identified how local authorities were grappling with the implications of the cuts, the extent to which the needs of deprived groups were being prioritised and strategies being developed to meet needs and address demands. 

A second, in depth phase of the research commenced in May 2012 and concludes in the spring of 2015. It will provide a detailed picture over time of how local authorities in both England and Scotland are managing budget contraction and of how their decisions and strategies are affecting the poorest households and places. As well as analysis of national data to understand the big picture, in depth case studies in three English and one Scottish local authority will be conducted.  A key focus of the case study work will be to assess the cumulative impacts of cuts across a range of services on particular groups and places.


Hastings, A., Bailey, N., Besemer, K., Bramley, G., Gannon, M., and Watkins, D. (2013) Coping with the cuts: local authorities and poorer communities. Main report. Glasgow: University of Glasgow.

Hastings, A., G. Bramley, N. Bailey and D. Watkins (2012). Serving Deprived Communities in a Recession. (Phase 1 report) York, Joseph Rowntree Foundation. Download from Joseph Rowntree Foundation website.



  • Annette Hastings, University of Glasgow
  • Nick Bailey, University of Glasgow
  • Maria Gannon, University of Glasgow
  • Professor Glen Bramley, Heriot-Watt University
  • Kirsten Besemer, Heriot-Watt University
  • David Watkins, Heriot-Watt University




Joseph Rowntree Foundation (£157k)