Social Policy and Society


Creating ‘Opportunity for All’? New Labour, New Localism and the Opportunity Society

Nick Ellison a1 and Sarah Ellison a2
a1 School of Applied Social Sciences, University of Durham E-mail:
a2 Social Work Research and Development Unit, University of York E-mail:

Article author query
ellison n   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
ellison s   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 


Since coming to office, New Labour has made much of a ‘public philosophy’ that stresses the importance of equal access to opportunities. This article does not so much criticise this fairly modest understanding of social justice as ask whether the kind of social policies that New Labour has devised are capable of delivering ‘opportunity for all’. The suggestion is that, because ‘targeted’ policies – Labour's local regeneration initiatives are the example taken here – face intrinsic difficulties as vehicles for social inclusion and thus greater equality of access to opportunity, they need to be supported by a wider commitment to distributive justice.

(Published Online June 26 2006)