The Government has made significant progress in tackling social exclusion.
- There are now 700,000 fewer children living in poverty than in 1996/97.
- The number of pensioners living in poverty has also fallen by at least 50%.
But social exclusion is about more than just income and poverty. It is what happens when someone is excluded from essential services or aspects of everyday life that most others take for granted.
Socially excluded people can become trapped in a cycle of related problems such as unemployment, poor skills, low incomes, poor housing, high crime, bad health and family breakdown.
The Social Exclusion Unit (SEU) was set up by the Prime Minister in 1997 to find a joined-up of solutions to break this cycle, and has been part of the Department since May 2002.
As well as working with the rest of Government to tackle the causes of social exclusion, the SEU is currently working on a number of projects to improve public services for the most disadvantaged.
Those groups include:
- People with low levels of literacy
- Disabled people and people with long-term health conditions
- People from certain ethnic minority groups
- People who frequently move home
- Excluded older people
- Young adults (aged 16-25) with complex needs
The SEU consults users, affected people, professionals and experts to agree actions across government. For more information about the unit, its past and current work programme visit www.socialexclusion.gov.uk