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Let's all have lunch!

11 July 2014
People often lament how the world of politics has very little to do with the ordinary lives of real people. For some parents, at least, that’s about to change. From September, all infant school children will be entitled to a free school meal. Across the country, children from all backgrounds will sit down together to a nutritious, healthy free lunch, fuelling concentration and learning.

The Future of Judicial Review

26 June 2014
It’s hardly surprising that politicians tend not to like having the lawfulness of their decisions questioned by the Courts. Like any frustrated litigant, when a Minister loses a judicial review case he or she is more likely to blame the judge than their own decision-making, whereas when they win, they’re quick to criticise the Claimant for bringing the case in the first place.

Can universal credit be made to work to reduce poverty?

18 June 2014
Universal credit (UC) may be much-maligned but like it or not, it’s coming our way. Given this, how can it best deliver on its dual promise to make work pay and reduce poverty? The TUC and Child Poverty Action Group have been exploring this question in recent months, ably assisted by Howard Reed of Landman Economics. Here, we offer a sneak preview of our results.

Families on the brink: welfare reform in London

11 June 2014
London’s housing crisis is well publicised and well discussed. We're used to reading about extortionate rents being charged for box properties or a generation that is likely to be priced out of buying.

The government’s child poverty strategy needs to be more child-focused, more poverty-focused, and more strategic

23 May 2014
This week, the official consultation closed on, potentially, the Coalition’s most important social policy objective– the new child poverty strategy. Running from 2014-17, the draft strategy covers the critical period during which we’d expect to see a big push to meet the statutory target to end child poverty by 2020 – especially given Iain Duncan Smith’s recent reaffirmation that he both remains committed to the target, and expects it to be met.

How the poor have been hit hardest by inflation

20 March 2014
It’s hardly news that the incomes of poorer families have been squeezed until the pips squeak. Declining real wages, underemployment and cuts to social security have all combined to drive down the living standards of those at the bottom of the income distribution in recent years.

What is happening to child poverty?

28 February 2014
Measures, measures everywhere and not a drop of sense. This morning George Osborne and Iain Duncan Smith put their new child poverty strategy out to consultation with the claim that they have reduced child poverty by 300,000 to date, while at the same time denigrating the yardstick they appear to be performing so well against. So what exactly is going on with respect to child poverty in the UK?

Tackle child poverty by letting mums work

11 February 2014
London is the child poverty capital of the UK, with more poor children living in London than in Wales and Scotland combined. These numbers are driven up by a jobs market that is not working for mothers. Women with children are less likely to be employed in London than elsewhere in the country.

You can’t reduce poverty without an adequate welfare state

21 January 2014
No one denies that Rachel Reeves, as Labour’s shadow work and pensions secretary, has one of the toughest gigs in town. Fiscally, it seems a Labour government would cap spending on social security. Politically, at a time when highly punitive policies such as the benefit cap attract broad public support, Labour is sensitive to proposing any reform that could be spun as "soft on scroungers".