11 October 2011

Child Poverty in the UK

...is defined by the 2010 Child Poverty Act. According to the IFS report just out, 
The Act defines an individual to be in relative poverty if his or her household’s equivalised income is below 60% of the median in that year; and he or she is in absolute poverty if the household’s equivalised income is below 60% of the 2010---11 median income, adjusted for inflation.
So by "absolute poverty" we are still actually talking about inequality. Now, I care very deeply about inequality, and in particular inequality in life chances (i.e. starting points rather than outcomes).

But I just can't decide whether I should be irritated by imprecise and misleading language about poverty, or impressed by the re-branding of inequality (which is clearly something only loony socialists should care about) as child poverty (who wouldn't care about child poverty? Surely only a heartless monster. Even Conservatives should care about child poverty).

So points for clever marketing. But do we really want people to think for a second that the absolute poverty of living on £23.50 a day in the UK is in any way comparable to the absolute poverty of the billion or so people worldwide who live on less than 80 pence a day?

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