Poverty articles

This page contains a selection of articles and editorials from our Poverty journal. Published three times a year, it is sent to all CPAG members as part of the membership package.

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  • The poor of the mass media

    Issue 148 (Summer 2014)

    Stories and pictures in the mass media form an important basis for creating opinions of ‘the poor’ and welfare recipients. The media content influences who we think these people are, how we think they behave and what we think should be done to either help or punish them. In The Rise and Fall of Social Cohesion, Christian Albrekt Larsen illustrates how the US and UK are caught in a vicious circle. High levels of poverty and a targeted welfare system produce a large volume of newsworthy negative stories, which make further punishment the most likely political response. Who would want to help scroungers and spongers? In contrast, Sweden and Denmark are caught in a virtuous circle. Low levels of poverty and a universal welfare system reduce the amount of newsworthy negative stories and allow room for stories about the deserving poor. Who does not want to help our ordinary fellow citizens in need? Here, he describes his research.

  • Adding to the shame of poverty: the public, politicians and the media

    Issue 148 (Summer 2014)

    The denigration of people in poverty is not new. It has been evident since at least the dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII when the Tudor state assumed de facto responsibility for the care of ‘paupers’, and the terms ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving’ were coined. The words used have changed and the vehemence of the language has ebbed and flowed, but the divisive, self-justifying distinction between the workless, rogues, idlers and scroungers on the one hand and the hardworking, law-abiding, responsible, ‘middle class’, taxpayer has not. Robert Walker and Elaine Chase draw on their recent research to highlight how recent welfare reforms continue our long tradition of shaming people who live in poverty.

  • In-work poverty

    Issue 148 (Summer 2014)

    More than half of all people in poverty now live in a working family. For children in poverty, this figure rises to nearly two-thirds. In each case, this proportion is the highest for all the years for which we have data. Tom MacInnes from the New Policy Institute unpicks these statistics and looks at the factors driving the increased significance of in-work poverty.

  • Editorial: Poverty cannot be reduced to a one-dimensional caricature

    Issue 148 (Summer 2014)

    As the consultation on the government’s latest three-year child poverty consultation closes, it seeks to articulate the policies it sees as reducing poverty, even as it prevaricates over how to define it. This issue of Poverty explores questions that are surely important to anyone seeking to reduce poverty, and to understand it. What does poverty look like? How does it feel?

  • How can we reduce child poverty without improving its prevention?

    Issue 147 (Winter 2014)

    The need to prevent child poverty is often acknowledged, but it is astonishing how quickly we slip away into being ‘realistic’ about what can be done now. The hardships of those already trapped in poverty, of course, call for immediate action. But, argues Adrian Sinfield, however effective the ways of lifting children and families out of poverty, unless we improve the strategies needed to prevent it from occurring, we will never make a major impact.

  • The real reason for the misery of work assessments

    Issue 147 (Winter 2014)

    Many sick and disabled people, including those with Huntington’s Disease, uncontrolled epilepsy, kidney failure or brittle bone disease, are refused employment and support allowance. Why are so many being failed, and who is responsible? Kaliya Franklin investigates.

  • Interview: Alan Milburn

    Issue 147 (Winter 2014)

    The Child Poverty Act 2010 requires the government to produce a strategy every three years, setting out the action it plans to take to end child poverty in the UK. Alongside this, the Act established an independent Child Poverty and Social Mobility Commission, tasked with the watchdog role of assessing government progress against the commitments set out in the plan. In the year in which the government must publish its vision for reducing child poverty over the next three years, Alan Milburn, Chair of the Commission, talks to CPAG’s Lindsay Judge and Moussa Haddad about his views on child poverty and social mobility, about child poverty measurement, and his hopes and fears for the next strategy.

  • Editorial: child poverty strategy must tackle current headwinds

    Issue 147 (Winter 2014)

    As Poverty goes to press, we have not yet had sight of the government’s next three-year child poverty strategy that it is obliged to produce under the terms of the Child Poverty Act 2010. As the strategy must be laid before parliament by early April, the window for consultation is slowly closing, and opportunities for interested parties to influence the plan become more limited every day. But the delay is perhaps unsurprising – for how can a government that is presiding over a set of policies projected to impoverish an additional 450,000 children over the course of this parliament not find the exercise anything but a challenge?

  • Tackling public attitudes

    Issue 146 (Autumn 2013)

    Making the case for a decent welfare state has become difficult. Much of the media takes every opportunity to cry ‘scrounger’. Each case of fraud gets extensive coverage. It has become a hot party political issue, with Conservative strategist Lynton Crosby identifying it as one of the four issues that will win his side the next election. Successive Labour frontbenchers have struggled to create their own narrative and policy. Here, Nigel Stanley describes recent work by the TUC and suggests how current attitudes might be changed.

  • Reframing poverty

    Issue 146 (Autumn 2013)

    The Webb Memorial Trust is hoping to reframe the debate about poverty. Here, Barry Knight explains why and discusses some early results.