Monday, December 08, 2008

Recession in Britain putting anti poverty work at risk

A new report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation says that the recession is putting anti-poverty efforts at risk. In fact, the foundations latest report says that UK poverty indicators have faltered in the last five years.

Larry Elliot of the Guardian filed a story on the report.

The study found that the Labour government had been far more successful in its first five years in office after 1997 than it had been since. Until 2002, 30 of the 56 poverty indicators - including housing, education, health and crime - chosen by the charity showed improvement and only a few worsened. Since then, only 14 of the indicators have improved and 15 have worsened.

Successes of the past decade, the JRF study said, were an increase in the number of homes meeting the government's decency standard, a halving in the number of 11-year-olds failing to achieve level 4 at key stage 2 tests, a reduction in the pay gap between low-paid women and male median earnings, and a steep reduction in the number of poor households with access to a bank account.

But it said too many pensioners still did not claim the benefits they were entitled to, the value of in-work benefits for adults without children had fallen by 20% in the past decade, there had been no progress in reducing under-16 pregnancies and no increase in the proportion of disabled working-age adults in employment.

Peter Kenway, the report's co-author, said: "The successes from the past 10 years need to be acknowledged but the failures also need to be understood if they are to be properly addressed. The concern now is how well an anti-poverty strategy that has been centred on getting people into work is going to fare in recession.

"With the adult social security net worth no more in real terms than 10 years ago, lots of people who lose their jobs have a long way to fall. Those out of work are going to find it harder to get a job."

The prime minister used last week's Queen's speech to put on a statutory footing the government's pledge to eradicate child poverty, but the JRF report said the emphasis on children had narrowed the government's approach.

1 comment:

Global Patriot said...

When you see efforts related to reducing poverty begin to stumble inside developed nations, that does not bode well for their ability to maintain efforts at relieving poverty and hunger in the third world.