Seriously superb from the JRF here

The Joseph Rowntree lot has a new report out. Details here.

They’ve actually got to the point where a family of four, two adults, two children, is in poverty unless they are paying higher rate tax.

They’re mad.

24 thoughts on “Seriously superb from the JRF here”

  1. The push for equality & inclusiveness. They won’t be happy until everyone can be defined as living in poverty.

  2. According to them then I live in poverty.
    What of it? The bills are paid, I can buy luxuries, can afford to run a car.
    More money would be nice but more money isn’t essential.

  3. Well, to be fair to these numpties, if the family is claiming 6000 childcare costs, then there are surely two earners, in which case neither of them would be anything like a high earner.
    Families don’t pay tax, individuals do.

  4. They aren’t trying to ‘define poverty’. They’re conducting a marketing and brand awareness campaign, while trying to ensure they continue to have well-paid jobs for the foreseeable future.

  5. So, not mad. What Chris Miller said. These moving goalposts were always the purpose.

    Otherwise, they’d have to pack up and get real jobs, wouldn’t they?

  6. EL

    It was Peter Townsend (co-founder of CPAG) who invented the concept of relative poverty:

    “Individuals, families and groups in the population can be said to be in poverty when they lack the resources to obtain the type of diet, participate in the activities and have the living conditions and the amenities which are customary, or at least widely encouraged or approved in the societies to which they belong. Their resources are so seriously below those commanded by the average family that they are in effect excluded from the ordinary living patterns, customs, and activities.”

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Townsend_(sociologist)

  7. Not at all surprising. Not only has the definition of ‘poor’ gone up, but the definition of ‘rich’ has come down.

    We’ve commented here before that a man supporting a wife and four kids would have to be ‘rich’ i.e. on higher rate tax, to beat what he could claim on welfare.

  8. Your comparing an income with an after tax income while simultaneously elswhere in the article evaluating it for tax – surely some mistake.
    Also ,
    According the paragraph in the article on their definition it is the 75% that is the definition. The “Indicator”.

  9. I misread the report the first time, I thought £178/wk = £9k a year, yeah, that’s what I’m on and I’m ok. Then I noticed “after housing costs”. wtf? So that £9k a year is actually £15k or so. Wow. I haven’t noticed myself sinking into the depths of deprivation.

  10. Minor quibble: you’re applying “average” housing costs to a “poor” family. A family in such dire straits would surely choose to live in housing of below-average cost.

  11. @ Andrew M
    “Minor quibble: you’re applying “average” housing costs to a “poor” family. A family in such dire straits would surely choose to live in housing of below-average cost.”

    I’m not sure about that- c 200 a week is social housing rent for a vaguely appropriate home, so I think that stands. In cases of low income Housing Benefit would kick in at some point or another- which leads to a question about where the income for this hypothetical family is drawn from- c 9k a year from the state is a hefty helping hand.

    Is it right to include benefits in income? What does the fruit pastille mob do in their report?

  12. Cash discount against the commercial market on the rent of a new build two bed council flat near me is at leat £15k a year (you’d need to earn more of course due to income tax).

    Should the income/poverty calculations therefore not value benefits at the commercial rate to acquire the services they receive?

  13. “Well, no, not really, it was Adam Smith with the linen shirt.”

    Up to a point, you pendant. It was Townsend and cronies who arbitrarily quantified relative poverty, so that it became more a measure of inequality than of poverty.

  14. Theo has it. The “living wage” type of relative poverty measurement at least has some justification. Like the linen shirt.

    Setting it to be an arbitrary arithmetic value is nuts. Even if you calculate it reasonably at the beginning, changes in relative costs especially of standard products will make it pointless within not too many years.

    It would, otoh, be interesting to see what the Living Wage did with regards to median wages over a sufficiently lengthy period. Which, of course, assumes that the ratchet effect won’t apply. Which it certainly will (and already has.)

    I note that society also has some degree of ratchet. But Netflicks is cheaper than the cinema and the seats are usually more comfortable. Although, if any of you ever find yourselves in Bury St Edmunds, can I recommend the Abbeygate Cinema? A pitcher of cocktail with your movie, Sir? Why ever not …

  15. Bloke in Costa Rica

    John Square: “Is it right to include benefits in income?”

    It’s been a perpetual bone of contention, not least from our esteemed host, that the failure of US poverty statisticians to include in their metrics of poverty those measures taken to reduce said poverty leads to completely meaningless statistics. It looks like the Rowntree bods are trying the same trick.

    I have no real mental handle on what incomes are like in the UK anymore. What would you have to be making, gross, to be left with, say, £30,000 disposable a year? As a singleton, no dependents?

  16. BiCR

    about £40,000 as a basic rate taxpayer paying normal NI

    Cost to employer to pay that £30,000 in your hand is about £44,500

    note: these numbers are rough and might be wildly wrong

  17. SE

    “if any of you ever find yourselves in Bury St Edmunds, can I recommend the Abbeygate Cinema?”

    Quite so. It’s my local cinema, and I go there regularly. Excellent programme, and some seats recline.

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