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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  • Poverty, social security and stigma

    Issue 144 (Spring 2013)

    ‘Proud to be poor’ is not a banner under which many want to march.’

    Writing recently about the lack of respect accorded to those living on a low income, Ruth Lister identified the strong and historic link between poverty and stigma. Social security can be seen as a way of helping to reduce the stigma of poverty, providing enough for people to participate in society, without being reduced to charity. But in recent years, there has been a perception of an increasing sense of stigma attached simply to the receipt of benefits. Kate Bell asks whether social security itself has become a source of shame.

  • Measuring child poverty: can we do better?

    Issue 144 (Spring 2013)

    In June 2012 when the government published the Households Below Average Income dataset for 2010/11, it announced at the same time that it would revisit the question of how we measure child poverty in the UK. In November 2012, a public consultation on the topic was launched when the Department for Work and Pensions issued the document Measuring Child Poverty: a consultation on better measures of child poverty. Jonathan Bradshaw looks at the key aspects of the various dimensions that the government has selected for inclusion, assesses their appropriateness for inclusion in any metric of child poverty and presents the shortcomings of the proposed new measure.

  • The impact of the Welfare Benefits Uprating Bill

    Issue 144 (Spring 2013)

    In December 2012, at the tail end of the parliamentary session, the government laid before the House of Commons a new piece of legislation. The Welfare Benefits Uprating Bill 2012 has a clear objective: to legitimate the Chancellor’s decision in his Autumn Statement to uprate key in- and out-of-work benefits by just 1 per cent for the next three fiscal years. Lindsay Judge explores the likely impacts of the Bill on the fortunes of children growing up in low-income families in the UK today, and subjects some of the rhetorical claims surrounding it to further scrutiny.

  • Why we need a relative income poverty measure

    Issue 143 (Autumn 2012)

    The latest international comparisons of child poverty rates from UNICEF show a smaller proportion of children living in relative income poverty in Hungary, Slovakia and Estonia than in the UK, Italy, Spain or the United States. Amid the current political debate about the value of measuring child poverty in this way, Dragan Nastic draws together UNICEF’s perspective to argue why it is still the best measure of the government’s success in countering child poverty.

  • The indignity of the Welfare Reform Act

    Issue 143 (Autumn 2012)

    At the 101st session of its conference in June this year, the International Labour Organization agreed Recommendation 202 on national social protection floors. Esoteric though it sounds, this sets standard that has the potential to require the radical upgrading of the British social security system. Robert Walker, Elaine Chase and Ivar Lødemel provide an overview of the Recommendation’s context, and argue why its rights-based approach and emphasis on dignity matter to UK anti-poverty programmes.

  • Last Word: Gateshead Youth Assembly

    Issue 143 (Autumn 2012)

    In the first of a new series of contributions from young people, Melanie Caddle and Mirander Delahaye describe their work on the Gateshead Youth Assembly.

  • The cost of a child

    Issue 143 (Autumn 2012)

    How much does it cost to bring up a child, free of material hardship and social disadvantage, in the UK today? How should these costs be measured and what costs should be included? And how adequate is the benefits system in meeting the cost of children? Donald Hirsch draws on his latest work to provide some answers.

  • 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.