Question: What do you understand by the terms ‘absolute’ and ‘relative’ poverty, and how do these terms relate to the concept of ‘social exclusion’? Discuss the
development of poverty research in the UK and explain how this has informed policy making. How
• Brief Introduction on the term poverty why we should be concerned with the study of poverty noting the view expressed in research and conclusions of foundational
work of Charles Booth –‘Life and Labour of the People in London 1889′- and Seebohm Rowntree ‘Poverty, A Study of Town Life’ 1898.
• Definition of poverty – from different perspective – Townsend, JRF, Bells (2103), etc.
*Definition of Absolute and Relative Poverty.
• Absolute poverty as lack of basic resources required to maintain minimum standard of living such as shelter, food, warmth clothing
• Relative Poverty -when resources are so seriously below those commanded by the average individual or family, when persons are excluded from ordinary patterns,
customs and activities. Reference to the early work of Townsend’s definition and JRF.
*Definition and analysis of social exclusion-and the concept of relative deprivation.
• Examination of the concept and theories of social exclusion
o Analysis of exclusion based on lack of income ,work and this by extension a excludes whole families and neighborhood and the legacy effect of generation dependency
on welfare benefit
o Evaluation of the view that increase in income does not necessary solve the problem of poverty. The unfair treatment of the ‘underclass’ by the non-excluded and the
bias and stereo type role of the media in the process.
o Brief Examination of exclusion based on other indicators such lack of access to information, financial services, political participation, transport and technology.
o Brief further analysis of other concepts of social exclusion beyond the realm of poverty and not necessarily relates to poverty such as .disability, ethnic
background, sexual orientation that may to marginalization, and discrimination
*Examination on the need and importance of poverty measurement as essential to policy formation.
• Analysis of the Importance of measurement in the development of social policies. -measurement should be based on how people live and not on speculative measurement
• Current measures of poverty
o Measurement in relation to thresholds such as income
o Analysis of different measurement concepts – (a) Income median measurement approach,(b) concepts living at the edge of poverty – ‘persistent poverty’ and lack of
access to some social activities or purchase of certain essential house items (c) Acceptable standard of living approach
o Evaluation of the limitation of these measurement approaches – current median income median approach – work income is not an escape from poverty, objective of
standard of the acceptable standard approach. A look at the survey criteria used in the ‘Breadline Britain’ research and Townsend researches.
* Analyses and evaluation of the development of poverty research in the UK
• Historical Background, brief examination of the research work of Booth Townsend JRF, Bradshaw and Bell.
• Analysis of perceptions of welfare benefits and how this influences policies formation in different period with specific evaluation
• Evaluation of models used in formulating policies
• Public perception of welfare benefits. Brief discussion about difficulties experienced by welfare recipient in recent times .John Hill (2012),Bell(2013)
*Analysis of the Concepts of rights and needs in relation to resources distribution.
• Examination and analysis various theories of concepts of needs and rights
• the need theories -Maslow hierarchical needs, Bradshaw new idea about identification of needs –Normative needs and felt needs and right theories and how they how
each inform distribution resources and by extension formulation of welfare policy
• Right distribution theories –legislations etc.
• Brief analysis – by comparing and contrasting need and right distribution concepts.
• Analysis of the importance of how the concepts informs resource distribution and by extension response in policies formation in dealing with poverty
• Examples and analysis of specific UK policies formulated on the basis of either need and right concepts or both.
*Examination of current models of distribution in the UK
• Analysis of Esping Andersen, G. (1990) idea and Peter Taylor Goosby’s perspective of reciprocity, solidarity and pre-distribution models and their application in
policy formation in the UK
• Evaluation of current UK policies on welfare benefits-looking at the recent policies of universal credit , ‘bedroom tax’ policy, government responses to the rising
numbers of people accessing food banks, proposed policies on fuel poverty and homelessness ‘
• Evaluation as to whether the strategies solve the problem of poverty.
• Brief comparison and evaluation of the general election manifestos of the 3 major parties and their plans to tackle poverty in the UK.
*Conclusions- Brief summary of the points raised in the essay and conclusions
Baumberg, B. Bell, K. and Gaffney, D. (2012) Benefit Stigma in Britain, Turn 2 Us, www.turn2us.org.uk
Bell, K. (2013) Abolishing Want in a Social State, Centre for Labour and Social Studies/Child Poverty Action Group (available through Social Policy Digest Online-see
main reading list)
Bell, K. and Strellitz, J. (2011) Decent Childhoods: Reframing the Fight to End Child Poverty, Webb Memorial Trust, www.decentchildhoods.org.uk
Bradshaw, J. (2015) The Erosion of the UK Safety Net, Discover Society, January 2015, available online at the Discover Society website
Brashaw, J. (2015) The Erosion of the UK Safety Net, Discover Society, January 2015, available online at the Discover Society website
Daguerre, A. and Etherington, D. (2014) Workfare in 21st Century Britain: the Erosion of the Right to Social Assistance, Middlesex University Business School,
available at https://workfare.org.uk/images/uploads/docs/workfarein21stcenturybritain.pdf
Esping -Andersen, G. (1990) The Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism, Polity Press
Gordon, D. et al (2013) The Impoverishment of the UK, Poverty and Social Exclusion UK (PSE UK), www.poverty.ac.uk
www.bris.ac.uk/poverty (Peter Townsend Centre for International Poverty Research, University of Bristol)
Hills, J. (2014) Good Times, Bad Times: the Welfare Myth of Them and Us, Policy Press
Hills, J. (2015) Welfare Myths and their Consequences, Discover Society, January 2015 (available online at Discover Society website)
Taylor-Gooby, P. (2013) The Double Crisis of the Welfare State and What We Can Do About It, Palgrave Macmillan
Taylor-Gooby, P. (2013) why do People Stigmatise the Poor at a Time of Rapidly Increasing Inequality, and What Can Be Done About It? Political Quarterly 84(1)
Taylor-Gooby, P. (2013) The Wrong Way to Tackle Poverty, Discover Society issue 1, October 2013, https://discoversociety.org
Taylor-Gooby, P. (2014) Making a Case for the Welfare State, Policy and Politics, August 2014
Townsend, P. (1979) Poverty in the UK, Penguin Books (available electronically from the Townsend Research Archive at www.poverty.ac.uk)
Goulden C (2017) how do the general election manifestos from the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats address UK poverty? JRF.
[https://www.jrf.org.uk/blog/after-election-government-needs-get-grips-poverty] Accessed 30/05/2017