Poverty articles

This page contains a selection of articles and editorials from our Poverty journal. Published three times a year, it is sent to all CPAG members as part of the membership package.

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  • Inequality and instability: why more equal societies have more stable economies

    Issue 142 (Summer 2012)

    According to the economic orthodoxy of the last thirty years, a stiff dose of inequality is a necessary condition for economic progress. Higher rewards and lower taxes at the top, it is claimed, boost enterprise and deliver a larger economic pie. The income gap might get wider, but eventually everybody, including those on the lowest incomes, will become better off. Here, Stewart Lansley puts the theory to the test.

  • Ending child poverty: a right or a responsibility?

    Issue 142 (Summer 2012)

    This year the European Union will publish its Recommendation on Child Poverty. This is expected to be based on three ‘pillars’ – access to adequate resources, access to services and opportunities, and children’s participation – and to argue for a strong rights-based approach to eradicating child poverty. In 2011, the current coalition administration published the first government child poverty strategy in the UK. At its heart, lies a commitment to ‘strengthening families, encouraging responsibility, promoting work, guaranteeing fairness and providing support to the most vulnerable’. Stephen Crossley and Tracy Shildrick explore these two very different approaches.

  • Low pay, no pay churning: the hidden story of work and worklessness

    Issue 142 (Summer 2012)

    Rather than the popular image of feckless people languishing in long-term unemployment, recent research for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has found that the predominant experience of being out of work is one of moving in and out of low-paid, short-term jobs, and on and off benefits. This cycling, or ‘churning’, between work and no work, with people taking poor quality jobs that are often paid too little to move them away from poverty, not only runs directly counter to the dominant story about welfare dependency, but has also been largely ignored by successive governments. Tracy Shildrick outlines some of the research findings and argues that policy must now focus on the quality, as well as the number, of jobs available if work is to provide a lasting route out of poverty.

  • Doing better for families

    Issue 141 (Spring 2012)

    Dominic Richardson summarises the OECD’s recent report on families, revealing some of the issues faced and how we might do better.

  • Tackling child poverty in partnership

    Issue 141 (Spring 2012)

    The Child Poverty Act 2010 places an obligation on governments to end child poverty in the UK by 2020. It also places new duties on devolved administrations and local government to tackle child poverty. Dr Julie Nelson examines the extent to which local authorities are meeting the challenge.

  • Benefit uprating: a return to human decency?

    Issue 141 (Spring 2012)

    In tough economic times, public debate can sometimes become more understanding of the plight of the worst off, but at other times show elements of mean-spirited selfishness. Nowhere has the latter response been more evident than in recent debates about the uprating of benefits.

    Here, Donald Hirsch reviews the principles on which benefits have been uprated in the past. He argues that we must stop lowering the absolute living standards of the least well off families in the country by linking uprating to what we think the country can afford and instead re-establish the principle of human decency, linking benefit uprating to a concept of fairness.

  • Universal credit: the gender impact

    Issue 140 (Autumn 2011)

    The government’s plans to introduce a new universal credit are intended to improve work incentives and simplify a complex benefits system, but may work against its duty to promote gender equality. Here, Fran Bennett, drawing on work for the Women’s Budget Group, looks at the impact the new benefit may have on gender issues, in particular on financial autonomy for women.

  • Riots, redistribution and reparation

    Issue 140 (Autumn 2011)

    Many people have asked why a tiny proportion of (mostly) young people rioted this summer. They have also questioned the part that rising inequalities could have played in making many people poor and some angry. After all, young adults in Britain today have only ever known a country in which income and wealth have been redistributed from poor to rich – to the detriment of all. How much money could be saved by doing the reverse and redistributing from rich to poor? And how much reparation is required in the long run for a sense eventually to emerge that we are all in this together? Danny Dorling seeks answers from an eclectic mix of sources, including a Chinese daily newspaper, a former London gang member and the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

  • End of a Faustian pact: workfare and riots

    Issue 140 (Autumn 2011)

    During the past three decades, Guy Standing argues, politicians struck a Faustian pact. In return for ‘labour market flexibility’, government would top up declining wages through subsidies and tax credits and redirect social protection from an emphasis on social solidarity and social insurance to means-tested social assistance. In the aftermath of rioting, they must now face the following fact: it is the economic policies they have supported that are a major cause of the underlying malaise.

  • Child benefits in the European Union

    Issue 139 (Summer 2011)

    The future of a universal child benefit in the UK is currently under threat. Here Jonathan Bradshaw looks at how the UK compares with other European Union countries in its provision of child benefits