The Equality and Human Rights Commission has released it’s report into how the changes in welfare and benefits are going to influence poverty, especially child poverty. Their finding is entirely unremarkable – The Tories are reversing one of the major policies of the last Labour Government.
This is, you know, one of he points and purposes of having elections., So that, if we the peeps decide so, we can get rid of the bastards and their ideas and have some new and or different ones. A major policy of that last Labour Government being to tax everyone in order to funnel money to families containing children. The aim being to reduce “child poverty,” something we must recall is measured in relative terms. That is, tax would be raised to be splashed out again upon reducing inequality.
You can support this policy if you wish, you can equally be against it. But it really was a policy of he last non-Tory government, isn’t one of the current Tory one and we really shouldn’t be all that surprised that elections do indeed change policy:
Four months after releasing our interim report, we have today released our final cumulative impact assessment, exposing how much individuals and households are expected to gain or lose, and how many adults and children will fall below an adequate standard of living, as a result of recent changes to taxes and social security.
The report, which looks at the impact reforms from 2010 to 2018 will have on various groups across society in 2021 to 2022, suggests children will be hit the hardest as:
an extra 1.5 million will be in poverty
the child poverty rate for those in lone parent households will increase from 37% to over 62%
households with three or more children will see particularly large losses of around £5,600
Note how poverty is defined here, less than 60% of household size adjusted median income. Families with children tend to be rather younger than the average family so we’d expect at least some to be in such poverty. Similarly, we’d expect the larger the family the more this will be so.
But it’s important to grasp the real complaint here. The last government was following a political policy we approve of, reducing that child inequality. The current one isn’t.
The correct response being, well, that’s what elections are for. We get to decide whether we like what was being done to us and with our money. We seem to have decided different. And?
There’s also some fun to be had with details:
Bangladeshi households will lose around £4,400 a year, in comparison to ‘White’ households, or households with adults of differing ethnicity, which will only lose between £500 and £600 on average
Are Bangladeshi households likely to have more children than white ones? Given that immigrants tend to bring with them, for the first generation at least (large scale Bangladeshi immigration is pretty new), the fertility rates of their origin we’d probably say yes to that.
Back to our main point:
The negative impacts are largely driven by changes to the benefit system, in particular the freeze in working-age benefit rates, changes to disability benefits, and reductions in Universal Credit rates.
The government from 1997 to 2010 made it a deliberate point to use the tax and benefit system to funnel money to families with children so as to reduce the number on less than 60% of median household income. We’ve had a number of elections and different people are running the government now. They’ve got different policies too. The surprise of this is?
Isn’t this actually why we do have elections? All of which makes this complaint, the query of “How Dare They Change It?” all more than a little odd.