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It was 20 years ago today

18 March 2019
In the words of the Sergeant Pepper song, ’It was twenty years ago today…’, on 18 March 1999, that the British government pledged to be the first to end child poverty in a generation. By 2010, there were 1.1 million fewer children in poverty.

A 'proper meal’? Free school meals in Portugal and England

14 March 2019
If we had not included Portuguese young people in our cross national study of Families and Food in Hard Times*, the inadequacies in the free school meal system in England might not have been quite so obvious.

Localisation of social security: what can the advice sector tell us?

11 March 2019
In the last few years, a slew of reports have been published focusing on the impact of the coalition government’s decision to localise various elements of the national social security system, including council tax benefit (now council tax support) and the discretionary social fund (now local welfare assistance).

Universal credit: a new era?

11 January 2019
Universal credit needs fixing. That’s certainly not the first time we’ve said that, but today the new Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Amber Rudd MP seemed to agree. At a Jobcentre in south London we got our first glimpse of what changes she has planned to make the benefit work better for everyone. Meanwhile, a couple of miles away the High Court announced that we had won our universal credit assessment period case. What do these two things mean for people claiming universal credit?

2018: the year in review

19 December 2018
The United Nations special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Professor Philip Alston, completed his 10 day visit in November by concluding that the UK's high child poverty rate was “not just a disgrace, but a social calamity and an economic disaster, all rolled into one”.

Lessons from the welfare reform summit

11 December 2018
Welfare reform and its effects have rarely been out of the news in the past few years – and rightly so. But the focus of coverage is often on political arguments taking place at Westminster. It’s vital we hear from those directly affected by the changes to social security, and from those who work with and support them.

The problem with good will

10 December 2018
In our Christmas appeal this year we mentioned Helen*, who we met at our food bank project in Tower Hamlets. Our advice helped Helen and her family get the financial support they needed. But we shouldn’t have met Helen in those circumstances.

UN Rapporteur’s report a ‘wake-up call’ on UK poverty

19 November 2018
When the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Professor Philip Alston, completed his 10 day visit to the UK on 16 November, he found that the poverty he had observed was unjust and, in his opinion, contrary to British values.

UN Special Rapporteur arrives to assess extreme poverty in UK

05 November 2018
Today the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty arrives in the UK for a twelve-day visit. This is an interesting time to arrive in the UK to investigate human rights for those living in extreme poverty.

An unfair start in the UK

02 November 2018
Social mobility is often promoted as a solution to perceived inequities in society. Specifically, it is often positioned by politicians as the solution to child poverty – as evidenced by the Social Mobility Commission, which started life as the Child Poverty and Social Mobility Commission but through various iterations has seen ‘child poverty’ removed from its remit entirely.