Monitoring Poverty and Social Exclusion 2009
The recession is at the heart of this latest report monitoring poverty and social exclusion in the UK (published by the Rowntree Foundation in December 2009) for the simple reason that a recession inevitably means lower employment which in turn means more poverty.
But while the recession is central, it is less so for its direct impact on poverty (which it is too early to assess) than for what it signifies. In particular, the recession was not was the tipping point at which things started to go wrong. Instead, across several key indicators, it is now clear that the turn actually came much earlier, in 2004 or 2005.
This is the first of three more general points to emerge from this discussion. The second is the contrast between the broader view of social exclusion and the narrower focus on child poverty. Along with the unemployment and lack of work that lies behind it, the child poverty targets have long been the higher priority for government. Yet what emerges here is that it is the things that come under the heading of social exclusion which now may have the better record.
The last general point is this: where progress has been made, the type of policy change that is needed is of the gradual variety, ‘conservative’ (with a small ‘c’) rather than radical, in order to try to preserve what has been done up to now. And this, of course, is the case, irrespective of who forms the next government.
About this report
This report is funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and written by Tom MacInnes, Peter Kenway, and Anushree Parekh.The facts presented and views expressed in this report are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Foundation.