William Eichler 31 July 2019

Poverty result of ‘political decisions’, MPs say

Poverty result of ‘political decisions’, MPs say image

The poverty and destitution levels in the UK are the result of political decisions made since 2010, MPs have said.

A new report from the Work and Pensions Committee welcomes the Government’s decision to adopt the Social Metrics Commission measure of poverty.

This measure shows that about 14 million people, a fifth of the population, live in poverty, with four million of them more than 50% below the poverty line.

The report criticises the Government for making ‘devastating, cumulative cuts’ to the incomes of the poor and urges it to lift the benefit freeze.

Most benefits for working-age people have been frozen since 2015/16. This means that already low benefit rates have become divorced from the costs of living.

The Local Housing Allowance freeze, for example, means that there is now a gap between housing benefit rates and rent prices in the private sector in the ‘vast majority’ of English local authorities.

Government plans to lift the benefit freeze in 2020/21 ‘will not be sufficient’ to reconnect benefit rates with the cost of living, according to the committee, nor will it allow those who have built up debts during the freeze to begin to pay them off.

‘The Government has shown that it can make target-busting savings through devastating, cumulative cuts to the incomes of the poor, by capping and freezing benefits that was begun under the Coalition Government,’ said Frank Field, chair of the committee.

‘Likewise, there is now no effective strategy to increase the life chances of poorer children. It has failed to recognise the unacceptably bleak picture emerging as it shreds our social safety net because it doesn’t really look.’

Responding to the report, the chair of the Local Government Association’s (LGA) Resources Board, Cllr Richard Watts, said: ‘The Prime Minister needs to use the Spending Review to restore funding to councils for local welfare assistance schemes and increase the Local Housing Allowance, enabling councils to support tenants at risk of homelessness in the short-term and providing the local safety net needed to help those struggling to cope with welfare reforms, including the roll out of Universal Credit.’

Highways jobs

Air Quality Monitoring Project Manager

Birmingham City Council
£34,788 - £42,683
Seeking a skilled and dedicated individual with a background in environmental protection and air quality to... Birmingham, West Midlands
Recuriter: Birmingham City Council

Transportation Engineer

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
£29,636 - £33,799 per annum
Applicants should hold an appropriate qualification, preferably to degree level, and have knowledge of transportation issues. Sandwell, West Midlands
Recuriter: Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Residential Assistant - Bridgemarsh

Essex County Council
£17675 - £20200 per annum
This is a permanent part time role for 22.5 hours a week. Essex County Council (ECC) is one of the largest and most dynamic local authorities in the U England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Team Manager - Assessment & Intervention - 3 jobs

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£42,683 - £44,632
Looking for exceptional Team Managers with a proven track record in managing both practitioners and case related performance. Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Residential Worker - Bridgemarsh

Essex County Council
£20200 - £26275 per annum
Essex County Council (ECC) is one of the largest and most dynamic local authorities in the UK, serving a population of 2 million residents, and has a England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Local Government News

Latest issue - Local Goverrnemnt News

This issue of Local Government News explores how councils can tackle modern slavery and trafficking in their supply chains, finds out more about Cambridge's first cohousing scheme and the launch of a new project to build a shared service pattern library for local government.

This issue also contains a special focus on children's services and how councils are protecting children following local safeguarding children boards being abolished.

Register for your free magazine