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.’

Slavery in supply chains image

Slavery in supply chains

Tiffany Cloynes and Clare Hardy explore what responsibility councils may have in the future to eliminate slavery and human trafficking in their supply chains.
Open letter to Boris Johnson image

Open letter to Boris Johnson

The MJ's editor Heather Jameson asks the new PM a simple question: do you want to fund local government or do you want to scale back services to the basics?
Highways jobs

Senior Traffic Engineer

East Riding of Yorkshire Council
£32,029 - £34,788 per annum
Currently seeking an enthusiastic and experienced individual to manage our Traffic Team. East Riding of Yorkshire
Recuriter: East Riding of Yorkshire Council

Youth and Community Based Commissioner- Colchester and Tendring

Essex County Council
£18117 - £19106.0 per month
Annual Salary JNC SCP 3 - Unqualified £18,117JNC SCP 6 - Qualified £19,106 We are currently seeking a Youth and Community Based Commissioner to suppo England, Essex, Colchester
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Networks Technician

Essex County Council
£24001.0 - £28280 per annum
Technology Services is focused on ensuring current and future investment in technology to maximise the opportunities to support ECC from a technology England, Essex, Basildon
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Youth Worker x7

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
£18,795 - £19,945 per annum
Looking for a Youth Worker who can meet the needs and aspirations of young people and deliver high quality Youth Work. Sandwell, West Midlands
Recuriter: Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Customer Specialist

Essex County Council
£20001.0 - £22220.0 per annum
Essex County Council (ECC) are currently recruiting for a Customer specialist within the Technical Processing and Optimisation Team. The Team is respo 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