Citizen’s Income News, Spring 2011

On the 23rd November the Daily Mail summarised the story of the 2008 financial meltdown, and Gordon Brown’s reaction to it, as told in a new book, Brown at 10: ‘Both Number 10 and the Treasury were to toy with the idea of giving £100 in cash to every British citizen. But there was no existing mechanism for doing so, which is why Brown opted instead for a temporary cut in VAT to 15 per cent.’ (Adapted from Brown at 10 by Anthony Seldon and Guy Lodge, published by Biteback on November 25 at £20. © Anthony Seldon and Guy Lodge 2010)

The Institute for Public Policy Research has published the results of research which shows that ‘in-work poverty has been on the increase over the last decade and this increase has not been dampened by the recession: The proportion of poor children living in working households increased to 61 per cent in 2008/09, up from 50 per cent in 2005/06; there are now 1.7 million poor children in working households compared to 1.1 million in workless households; and the number of working-age adults in working households increased by 200,000 in 2008/09 and 60 per cent of poor adults now live in working households’. (p.1). IPPR says of the report: ‘Analysts had thought that the trend towards a greater proportion of poverty being found among working households might be reversed by the recession, as low earners lost their jobs and swapped in-work poverty for workless poverty. However, our analysis shows that this had not happened by March 2009 and that in-work poverty continues to account for a rising share of poverty. This creates a key challenge for the Coalition Government as it sets out its plans for welfare reform and develops its child poverty strategy.’ Recommendations include: ‘Increasing hourly pay; …helping low earners to work longer hours; …providing incentives for both partners in a couple to work; and … increasing the value of benefits and tax credits for low earners’ (p.1) (Glenn Gottfried and Kayte Lawton, In-work poverty in the recession, ippr, September 2010)