Anorak News | Poverty Hasn’t Doubled In The Past 30 Years But Inequality Has Risen

Poverty Hasn’t Doubled In The Past 30 Years But Inequality Has Risen

by | 30th, June 2014

London Scene - Children's Homes - 1931 Canning Town, poor children having soup.

London Scene – Children’s Homes – 1931
Canning Town, poor children having soup.


DESPITE what The Guardian would love to be able to tell us it simply isn’t true that poverty has doubled in the past 30 years. Inequality has increased, that’s true, but poverty and inequality are not the same thing:

Poverty hits twice as many British households as 30 years ago

The UK economy has doubled in size since the early 1980s – yet the number of those suffering below-minimum living standards has grown by more than twice, a study claims

That’s what the paper would like us to believe. But it hasn’t actually happened that way.

What has happened is that researchers went out to ask people, well, what should you be able to afford? How much of the house should you be able to heat, how many pairs of shoes should the kids have each, how often can you take the Missuss out for a couple of bevvies? And these are actually the questions they asked.

Then they went round and asked people whether they could afford all of these things.

And twice as many people cannot afford today’s list as could not afford 1980s list. But note that the 1980 numbers are comparing what you should have been able to do in 1980 with the people who could do those things in 1980. And today’s with today. They are not the same list at all.

For example, back in 1980 (I know, I was there!) you would be very posh indeed if you could afford to keep the whole house warm all winter. People really did still use hot water bottles, bedrooms often had ice on the inside of the windows in the morning. Today you’re poor if that happens.

What has actually happened is that living standards in general have risen but not all of us have been climbing up at the same rate. Inequality has risen but poverty hasn’t. And don’t let them tell you different.

Posted: 30th, June 2014 | In: Money Comment | TrackBack | Permalink