So, Is UK Poverty Up Or Not? Or About The Same?

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The Office for National Statistics released the poverty numbers. So, The Guardian’s report on them:

The number of children and pensioners in absolute poverty increased in 2017-18 as inflation and accommodation costs took a bigger chunk out of household finances, according to figures from the department for work and pensions.

The Financial Times read the same report:

The proportion of people in absolute poverty — defined as 60 per cent of the median income seen in 2010-11, adjusted for inflation — also rose slightly before housing costs, and was unchanged after accounting for housing.

The G’s got to be wrong, hasn’t it? As absolute poverty was unchanged after taking into account housing costs.

But then, you know. The Guardian, wrong about everything. Always.

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literate3timworstallLeo SavanttDavidsbThe Mole Recent comment authors
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The Mole
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The Mole

They could be both right – Guardian apparently is limiting it to children and pensioners, whilst FT is apparently all households. But my guess is Guardian is just making bits up!

Leo Savantt
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Leo Savantt

The UK’s measure of absolute poverty is a relative one and as such is worthless, if all the wealthy emigrated the supposed number of poor would fall precipitously. Of course if you use a global realitive poverty scale, the UK’s poorest are amongst the wealthiest in all of human history. Truly relative poverty is an idiocy.

As far as housing is concerned, the high costs have nothing to do with demand and immigration isn’t a factor whatsoever, it would be xenophobic to suggest otherwise.

Davidsb
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Davidsb

…The proportion of people in absolute poverty — defined as 60 per cent of the median income

I thought that was relative poverty….

So what actually is the definition of relative poverty?

timworstall
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timworstall

Leo’s sorta right. Relative poverty is 60% of median this year. Absolute is 60% of median for some year in the past. If we used 1950 there would be no absolute poverty, So they use 2010/11 I think.

literate3
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literate3

The Guardian is cherry-picking – finding one small thing in the report that it can claim demonstrates that Mrs May is really Dracula in disguise and pretending that all good bits aren’t there if it ignores them.

If we used 100% of median income in 1950, let alone 60% of it, no-one who claimed their benefits or sold “Big Issue” would be deemed “in poverty”.