This tells us something very interesting

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.


10 thoughts on “This tells us something very interesting”

  1. @JuliaM

    It’s indeed a slightly different use of the word “cut” in polispeak… Normally it means “reduced increase”. 🙂

  2. There is zero absolute poverty in the UK. There is, however, want caused by idleness and poor life choices.

    With so many job vacancies employers are going to have to offer better pay and conditions, so it’s a great time to get off benefits and into work.

  3. Why is Blojob Johnson whining about the policies of his government?

    Is this some variant of the “it isn’t him its the nasty advisors/ SCS etc he is surrounded by”? The scene played out by James Mason as Rommel in “The Desert Fox”? It isn’t Adolf–he’s being badly advised etc.

    It was cockrot then and its cockrot now. As Tim says a cod controversy over nowt designed to make it look like Boris the Battler is having to fight with all sorts of nasty folk to be our saviour.

    Furlough ends soon and it may be that large numbers of formerly comfy are heading for UC and being treated like shite. No more Deliveroo but “Deliver Us” in prayers. That will predispose them to hit back by ignoring Johnson’s vax pass and winter LD plans. Now that would be a positive development.

  4. This shows the weakness of the definition of poverty being used as a heartstring-tugger here. But it doesn’t show that the £1k a year is small beer to those involved – particularly because it applies to a lot of people a long way below that hypothetical and largely irrelevant line, not just the people who are on the margin of it.

  5. Just shows you should never paint yourself into a corner by uprating existing benefits/taxes/whatevers. After the NHS has spent all the Social Care Levy, are they going to be silent when it all starts going to Social Care? No, it’ll be CUTS TO OUR BLESSED EN AITCH ESS!!!!

  6. @ Agammammon
    Quite true but the whiners studiously ignore that.
    Also it has a relatively small impact on median income because UC is supposed to help those significantly below median income and only affects those above median income if they have several children and/or live in an area with significantly above-average housing costs and/or a household member with special needs.

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