Sign in: Staff/Students
Dr Stephanie Petrie, University of Liverpool’s School of Law and Social Justice
“Iain Duncan Smith has proposed measuring poverty by including factors such as family breakdown, drug addiction, debt, joblessness and education results, rather than by income alone.
There are a number of worrying aspects to this proposal that must be addressed.
Family breakdown, drug addiction, debt, poor educational results, and idleness are social phenomena that occur among the affluent too.
The difference, of course, is that those with money have the means to buy solutions to these problems.
As has emerged frequently during the last few years individuals with access to personal or institutional wealth and status have escaped the consequences of crimes, such as child abuse and fraud.
They have the opportunity to purchase confidential treatment for drug addiction and family problems and buy educational privilege and advantage.
Surely our own family histories and common sense tell us that poverty is fundamentally linked to income.
In the words of Charles Dickens’ Mr Micawber: ‘Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.’ (David Copperfield, 1850)”
Iain Duncan Smith is attempting to conflate poverty with a wider array of social measures in order to justify greater levels of inequality produced by the distribution of work, income levels and life opportunities.
Poverty is linked with powerlessness and IDS is making a persistent attempt to define people in poverty as being morally and socially deficient compared to the hard working wage earner who gets out of bed to go to work. The reality is that people who are experiencing poverty are remarkably similar to those who are not in terms of their aspirations and values. Our problem is not so much the increasing size of the benefits bill but our porrly performing model of welfare capitalism that means more than half the children who are growing up in poverty are in households containing at least one working parent. These children are growing up in poverty because their parents are in jobs that don’t pay enough rather than because they are feckless and undeserving. Still, it is far easier to seek to stigmatise poor and powerless people than to tackle deeper seated problems in Britain’s political economy.
You must be logged in to post a comment.
All recent news
More research funded into blood cancer and COVID-19
University and Sumy State University announce new research collaboration
‘Just old age’ or is your dog experiencing a serious clinical issue?
Student Societies: Make friends, try something new, and develop your skills
Race Equality Charter: Next Steps
Our new @LivUniSCA exhibition at @VictoriaGallery is now open👇
Read more about the #Men4Change toolkit and the @ladsonsocial research findings from @craigh_ @CommediaLivUni here 👉https://news.liverpool.ac.uk/2023/03/27/men4change-toolkit-launched-to-support-young-men-in-talking-about-masculinity-gender-inequalities-and-sexual-violence/
New exhibition 'Travel in Style – Iconic Cunard Advertising in the 1920s and 1930s' features posters, brochures, menu cards and collectable souvenirs from the era opens today, 25th March 2023.
Open Tuesday - Saturday 10am - 5pm.