Monitoring poverty and social exclusion 2002, by Guy Palmer, Mohibur Rahman and Peter Kenway

Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2002, 110 pp., pb., 1 85935 074 7, £16.95. Order this book

This is the Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s fifth annual report on levels of poverty and social exclusion in Great Britain. The report contains statistics related to fifty indicators covering income, health, education, employment and engagement in community activity. The first chapter contains pages on income measures, then come chapters on children, young adults, adults, and older people, and a final chapter on communities (with material on involvement in civic organisations, crime, proportions of households without insurance, etc.).
The income indicators show that there has been a small drop (of 300,000) between 1999/2000 and 2000/2001 in the number of people on incomes below 60% of median income, and that we are now back at the 1995/6 level. This is welcome. But at 12.9 million the figure is double what it was 20 years ago. (This rather suggests that the Foundation’s sister organisation, the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, ought to replace its recently discontinued poverty programme with one aimed at long-term issues relating to income distribution).
As always, this report is highly informative, extremely clear and accessible, and of considerable practical value to policy-makers and all involved in policy debates.