Changing Poverty Post-1997, by David Piachaud and Holly Sutherland

Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, London School of Economics, CASEpaper no. 63, 2002, x + 45 pp., pb.

By using the usual definition of poverty (income below 60% of median equivalised income), Piachaud and Sutherland find that between 1996/7 and 2000/1 there has been a small fall in poverty overall and a larger fall (of about 4%) in the number of children in poverty; and they attribute these changes to increased employment, to changes in benefits, and to the introduction of tax credits.

The second half of the paper employs a microsimulation model to assess the likely effects of policy changes already implemented or announced on levels of poverty for the period 2000/1 to 2003/4. The authors find that the effects will be small (with only a 2% fall in child poverty). They therefore suggest that further policy initiatives are required if the government target of halving child poverty between 1999 and 2010 is to be met.