Poverty in Britain remains horrifying. For example, about 7% of households cannot afford a single hobby or leisure activity and a quarter cannot manage to save £10 a month for rainy days or retirement.
But the DWP plans to spend just over £130 billion in 2008. Surely some mistake, so I did a quick calculation based on 2007 numbers:
Now, as a first estimate, it appears that DWP manages to spend almost twice as much as the poverty threshold for every person in poverty. This is optimistic too: I used the threshold figure for a single person with no children. If we took the figure of £260 per week for a couple with two children, and divided by four, it would appear DWP spends about three times the threshold per head.
These are devastating ratios, but worse, it is not working:
Using a still lower threshold of 40% of median income, however, the pattern is rather different: unchanged levels throughout the last decade. In other words, there has been no reduction in the numbers of very poor people.
A pity millions of people must wait for significant change to begin.