Work has been the biggest anti-poverty policy of recent decades, with support delivered under banners of ‘making work pay’, and calls for people to ‘work their way out of poverty’. However, people living in poverty are increasingly likely to be working. The UK’s wage fall since the 2008 financial crisis has been unmatched by any other large economy. This will be exacerbated by the Universal Credit roll out. Families are being pushed into financial hardship and work incentives damaged, particularly for second earners, single parents and those moving into self-employment.
As the elected Mayor of Bedford Borough, in 2013 I faced 40 per cent cuts in local government financing, a new localism agenda and welfare reform. As part of welfare reform, local councils had to devise their own Council Tax Reduction Scheme to replace the Council Tax Benefit System, taking on this responsibility from central government.
A new article in Child Indicators Research (behind a paywall) ranks 38 high and middle income countries, mostly in Europe, on a measure of multidimensional poverty among children aged 11, 13 and 15 years old. The study uses data from the 2013/14 Health Behaviour in School-age Children (HBSC) survey. It gives regional breakdowns for Belgium and Great Britain, showing clear divides among the regions and nations within these two states.
Joyce Materego has been director of finance and resources at CPAG since January 2016. We were delighted when she was recently named an Inspiring Financial Leader at the Charity Finance Group awards. We asked Joyce about life before CPAG, what drew her to our work, and what challenges lie ahead.
About half of all London local authorities are accredited Living Wage employers and, according to our analysis, significantly more local employers pay the London Living Wage where this is the case. Their leadership may have a ‘ripple effect’ in encouraging other organisations to become Living Wage employers.
Sue is part of Dole Animators – a group of people with experience of the social security system in the UK who work together to highlight the effects of welfare reform. Dole Animators have just produced a five point plan for a brighter future – their blueprint for addressing poverty and insecurity. Sue spoke at an event in Parliament last week about her experiences, and shares them here:
We were delighted to learn last week that Tom Royston, a barrister who specialises in social welfare law, won the prestigious Legal Aid Newcomer Award at the Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year awards. We put Tom forward for the award because of his tireless work with us on key cases. These include the Rutherford case last year, in which we challenged the ‘bedroom tax’ in the Supreme Court and won. The Court ruled that the Government had discriminated against Paul and Susan Rutherford and their severely disabled grandson Warren, who needs overnight care.
It’s nearly a year since the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health first joined forces with Child Poverty Action Group to explore the links between poverty and children’s health. We know that four million children in the UK live in poverty, and we know that there is a demonstrable link between social disadvantage and poor health outcomes, but we wanted to look beyond the data and discover what our members – paediatricians – were seeing on the frontline.