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.

Sustained misery, maintained at vast expense, is a tragedy.
Centre for Social Justice
Thank goodness, then, for Iain Duncan Smith’s Centre for Social Justice and for Chris Grayling. We are getting there.

A pity millions of people must wait for significant change to begin.

One Comment

  1. Part of New Labour’s anti-poverty strategy has been ‘full employment’.
    This means that all government agencies serve two purposes. To perform the tasks for which they are named, and as tools of employment policy.

    The DWP exists as much to redistribute money to it’s staff as it does to spend money on its clients.

    Gordon Brown’s theoretical economic framework of ‘neoclassical endogenous growth’ has been steadily eating away at the wealth-generating capacity of the UK for 11 years, with the negative effects concealed from most by artificially cheap credit for much of that time.