Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Child Poverty Rates increase

Figures released today by the DWP (Department for Work and Pensions) show that 100,000 more children now live in relative poverty compared to a year ago.

Relative poverty is defined here as people living on 60% or below of average household income.

We already know that whilst tax credits have lifted those people close to the 60% barrier above it, it has in fact done little for those on 40% or below average household income, whose numbers have increased.

As George Osbourne says tax credits are not the only way. They will not on their own solve the problem. We need to tackle other issues like family breakdown, community cohesion and lack of aspiration that exists in some areas.

The BBC has this.

3 comments:

John said...

The more significant question surely, as pointed out on The Difference Magazine, is not whether everyone has equal wealth, but whether everyone enjoys equality of opportunity.

Jonathan said...

I question whether relative poverty is a good measure, since penalizing the rich would improve the "relative poverty" numbers without doing a bit of good for the poor. Are there statistics for absolute poverty levels?

Benedict White said...

John, To some extent you are right, though low aspiration is an issue which needs to be tackled in some areas.

Jonathan, Yes penalizing the rich will help relative poverty without actually achieving much. There has been some research on poverty levels including relative poverty levels.

Interestingly the poorest seem to be growing in number and have been since 1997 on the relative scale. I am not sure about absolute levels.