Something very interesting about poverty:
Boris Johnson is warned today that more than 800,000 people risk being plunged into poverty as a result of an imminent cut to universal credit, amid a plot by senior Tories to force the government into a last-minute U-turn.
So, our definition of poverty is living in a household at 60% or less of median household income. We can measure this before or after housing costs and it is adjusted to size of household.
Median household income is £29,900. Without worrying about housing costs, without adjustment for household size, we’re working back of the fag packet here. So, poverty is less than £17,940. Or, £345 a week. £20 of £345 is 6%.
So, the entire argument here about 800k into poverty is that number of people moving from 1-3% above our invented relative poverty line to 1-3% below it. Or thereabouts.
About which we could say this doesn’t matter a damn. Or, equally, we could say that it’s obviously a fairly cheap problem to solve. But the thing that we should definitely say is that it doesn’t actually matter a damn. Because it isn’t, at all, about throwing folks from some bourgeois respectability back into the slums, it’s a marginal change of a few percent in the weekly income. Some folks who were pennies above the line will now be pennies of even a pound of five below it.