Poverty in the UK


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Brief History of Poverty in the UK

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Poverty in the UK

  1. 1. Unit 2: Poverty & Social Inequality Deadline: W/C 13.01.14
  2. 2. Unit Assessment Criteria 1.1 Analyse different forms of social stratification. 2.1 Outline and critically evaluate research evidence relating to social inequality and poverty. 3.1 Outline and critically evaluate different explanations of social inequality and poverty.
  3. 3. Assignment Tasks Task 1: Research and complete a table on stratification Task 2: Write an essay (1250 words) “Critically examine the different explanations of social inequality and poverty, and analyse research evidence relating to these issues.”
  4. 4. Assignment Tasks • Both tasks are to be completed independently • There are a range of websites with lots of data on poverty to help you with research evidence: • Joseph Rowntree Foundation www.jrf.org.uk • Child Poverty Action Group www.cpag.org.uk • The Poverty Site www.poverty.org.uk • Office of National Statistics www.statistics.gov.uk
  5. 5. Session Learning Outcomes Students... • Must be able to outline features of the historical, social and political context of poverty • Should be able to outline the theoretical perspectives underpinning political approaches • Could be able to begin to evaluate the different approaches to tackling poverty
  6. 6. What does poverty mean to you? • What are the first two words that come to mind when you think of the term poverty? • Write them down...
  7. 7. History of Poverty & the Welfare State
  8. 8. Middle Ages • During the time of Henry VIII there was a great fear of social disorder following the Black Death. • Questions of social control and social welfare became intrinsically linked. • In 1536 measures were introduced allowing parishes to collect money for the poor
  9. 9. The Poor Law - 1601 • Fear of social disorder, brought about by a large rise in the number of vagrants The Poor Law Act of 1601 was introduced. • The act classified the poor into either: – The impotent poor (sick and aged) – The able bodied poor (the unemployed) who were put to work in workhouses – The persistent idlers who were sent to houses of correction.
  10. 10. Workhouses • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oseRfMFUXB4 • Consider the conditions people had to contend wit
  11. 11. 1834 Poor Law Amendment • Conditions in the workhouses were to be made worse than the lowest paid employment, as a conscious effort to discourage people from applying for help. Despite this workhouse inmates rose from 78500 in 1838 to 200,000 in 1843.
  12. 12. 1834 Poor Law Amendment • A key aspect of the Act was that people became poor through their own personal deficiencies or laziness. • The workhouses are one of the main sources for the novels of Charles Dickens (1812-1870)
  13. 13. 1873-1896 – Economic Depression • During the latter part of the 19th Century, the economic depression of 1873-1896 led to a realization that poverty was not necessarily the individual’s fault.
  14. 14. Charles Booth & Seebohm Rowntree • In the early 1900s two men performed two very big and important surveys on poverty in London and York. • Booth reported that the main causes of poverty in London were old age and unemployment • Rowntree found 28% of the population were poor due to low wages.
  15. 15. WWI / 1930s depression • World War 1 increased the role of the state in the economy and the Great Depression further eroded liberalism as there was mass unemployment and hardship.
  16. 16. Beveridge Report • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lurGssKn7PA • Andrew Mar Beveridge 7.00min
  17. 17. Beveridge Report 1942 • William Beveridge argued for a more rational and comprehensive system to cure what he termed the "Five Giant Evils“
  18. 18. 1. Squalor Poor living conditions
  19. 19. 2. Ignorance: • Those in higher classes were ignorant to the plight of those below them. National Insurance Act was introduced in 1946 to fix this.
  20. 20. 3. Want: • Supply of basic needs & living conditions
  21. 21. 4. Idleness • Job centre – everyone must work
  22. 22. Disease: • Recognition that it was linked to financial trouble
  23. 23. Beveridge Report 1942 • This state intervention was to ensure that everyone could live without fear of want and guarantee a minimum standard of living for all citizens.
  24. 24. Beveridge introduced: – National Insurance – contributions from employees and employers – National Health Service – reduce illness and the burden of claims due to illness and disability – Family Allowances – to help those with low wages, but also to boost the falling birth rate.
  25. 25. The Acts • • • • Education Act 1944 Family Allowances Act 1945 National Health Service Act 1946 National Assistance Act 1948
  26. 26. Assumptions behind welfare • The idea behind the system was that people would make payments out of their wages and would in turn receive payments when they were unemployed. • It worked on the assumption that unemployment would be fairly rare and short lived. • Problems occur when demands on welfare outstrip the contributions that people make. • Influenced by John Maynard Keynes
  27. 27. 1979 – then came… • http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=MZPqBNc4wmw
  28. 28. The New Right • In 1979 the General Election brought in the Conservative Government and this saw the end of the commitment to full employment. • They stated that there was a natural level of unemployment caused by wages that were too high. • They tried to drive down wages (unions) and to drive down benefits.
  29. 29. The New Right • Some of you have investigated The New Right • Can you tell us what changes the Conservative Government brought in the 1980s?
  30. 30. Conservative Party – 1980s • Removed welfare grants and replaced with repayable loans. • Benefits removed for 16-18 year olds. • Value of state pension reduced. • Benefits not increased in line with inflation. • ‘Right to buy’ council homes legislation was introduced. • Shift towards community care.
  31. 31. The New Right • Emphasis on individual freedom – need to reduce the power of the state to a minimum • Reduced spending by the state – by making individuals more self reliant by cutting benefits and encouraging people to stand on their own two feet
  32. 32. 1989 – Charles Murray • Some of you have investigated Charles Murray • Can you tell us what Charles Murray had to say about poverty?
  33. 33. Charles Murray • IN 1989 Charles Murray visited Britain in search of the ‘underclass’, courtesy of The Sunday Times. Four years later he returned to warn that the crisis of the ‘underclass’ was deepening. Murray, C (1989) The Emerging Underclass. The Times Newspaper
  34. 34. Murray, C (1989) The Emerging Underclass. • “Women who have children outside marriage are singled out as particularly worthy of stigma, the erosion of which since the ‘sexual revolution of the 1960s’, has contributed to the increase in their numbers.”
  35. 35. Murray, C (1989) The Emerging Underclass. • The ‘underclass does not refer to degree of poverty, but to a type of poverty. • These poor people didn’t lack just money. They were defined by their behaviour. Their homes were littered and unkempt. The men in the family were unable to hold a job for more than a few weeks at a time. Murray, C (1989) The Emerging Underclass. The Times Newspaper
  36. 36. Murray, C (1989) The Emerging Underclass. • Drunkenness was common. The children grew up ill-schooled and ill-behaved and contributed a disproportionate share of the local juvenile delinquents. • Does any of this sound familiar?
  37. 37. Criticisms – Hutton 1996 • Arguments to reduce welfare expenditure in a time of austerity are based on false assumptions and spurred by political ideology rather by economic need. • According to Hutton, apart from Iceland, Britain runs the ‘…meanest, tightest, lowest cost social security system in the in EU.’ OECD Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  38. 38. Criticisms Witcher (1994) • Challenged the myths that there is a need to identify a distinction between the deserving and undeserving poor. • She argues that these myths have contributed to a situation where it is possible to consider cutting social security and that this is not based on sound analysis.
  39. 39. 1997 – then came… • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EaL8BN4Gr0U • 8mins in
  40. 40. New Labour and Social Inclusion • The election of Labour in 1997 brought an end to the dominance of the New Right. • Their first task was to set up a unit to combat ‘social exclusion’ – This refers to the way some groups have been marginalized through the action of government and others.
  41. 41. Labour’s Approach to Welfare • Focus on work and education • Welfare to work e.g. Working Links
  42. 42. Conservative/Lib-Dem 2010 Create a mind-map on what has been the coalition’s response to poverty and social inequality? Cameron’s response to Labour failure to cut poverty. •http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=GdeHXSbHb8c
  43. 43. Poverty Today Poverty Quiz •In groups of 3 complete the poverty quiz
  44. 44. Re-cap • What have you learnt about views about poverty in Britain? • What have you learnt about the approaches to tackling poverty?