Our policy journal

Published three times a year, Poverty journal carries articles and features to inform, stimulate and develop debate about the nature and causes of poverty. Each issue includes three in-depth features, reviews of latest poverty research, analysis of child poverty statistics, and views from practitioners and young people themselves.

This page contains a selection of articles and editorials from each issue. Access to the full content is part of CPAG’s membership package.

Please note the views expressed in articles are not necessarily those of CPAG. We welcome articles and other contributions from our readers – if you are interested, please contact the editor at jtucker@cpag.org.uk.

  • 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.

  • Doing better for families

    Issue 141 (Spring 2012)

    Dominic Richardson summarises the OECD’s recent report on families, revealing some of the issues faced and how we might do better.

  • Tackling child poverty in partnership

    Issue 141 (Spring 2012)

    The Child Poverty Act 2010 places an obligation on governments to end child poverty in the UK by 2020. It also places new duties on devolved administrations and local government to tackle child poverty. Dr Julie Nelson examines the extent to which local authorities are meeting the challenge.

  • Benefit uprating: a return to human decency?

    Issue 141 (Spring 2012)

    In tough economic times, public debate can sometimes become more understanding of the plight of the worst off, but at other times show elements of mean-spirited selfishness. Nowhere has the latter response been more evident than in recent debates about the uprating of benefits.

    Here, Donald Hirsch reviews the principles on which benefits have been uprated in the past. He argues that we must stop lowering the absolute living standards of the least well off families in the country by linking uprating to what we think the country can afford and instead re-establish the principle of human decency, linking benefit uprating to a concept of fairness.