Cabinet Office Social Exclusion Taskforce

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Social exclusion and the economic downturn

Learning from the Past: Tackling worklessness and the social impacts of the recession argues that beating the social impacts of recession is crucial in preventing the downward spiral into long-term worklessness that the country has seen in the past. It is published alongside an evidence pack that sets out the data related to the past and current economic context.

The report outlines how previous recessions have resulted in not just rising unemployment, but also increases in crime, mental health problems and family and relationship breakdown. It highlights the social impacts of previous recessions and how this time round despite steeper falls in GDP, labour market effects have been less severe than in the past.

The Government has taken direct action to limit the recession through programmes such as Real Help Now [ [External website]]. It included measures to protect people’s savings and prevent the collapse of the banking sector, £20 billion to stimulate the economy, a mortgage support and protection programme and additional support to help people find work, including a guarantee for young people.

In response to the challenges of the recession, the Government has now introduced an additional package of measures to tackle the ‘social wave’ of recession including:

Angela Smith said that tackling the social impacts of recession demonstrates how:

“The global financial crisis of 2008 and the recession that followed have had far reaching impacts. The Government has responded robustly to the needs of the many and recognises that this is no time for complacency.

“All sections of society have been battling the effects of the current recession and no area has been immune. In the face of global recession the Government has acted with determination to support businesses, protect jobs and stimulate recovery.”   

National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) Report on the Social Impacts of the Recession

The SETF commissioned NatCen to conduct a research exploring the extent to which people who lose their job and people who feel insecure in their job go on to experience other social disadvantages, such as depression, financial stress and relationship breakdown.


The Social Exclusion Task Force held a seminar on Tuesday 19th May 2009. This event brought together a wide range of leading academics, third sector representatives, policy advisors and social commentators to share insights and evidence on the links between recession and long term social exclusion.  

Liam Byrne, Minister for the Cabinet Office introduced the event, followed by presentations from:  

Please contact Claire Etches, or Tim Crosier, for more details on the study.