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Poverty Deepening in Modern Britain

Graham Watson

24th March 2024

Next month sees the 25th anniversary of the introduction of the National Minimum Wage, although it's now called the National Living Wage, and this article looks at what it's achieved.

Whilst there have been a number of positive effects, notably in tackling discrimination, it's done little to reduce poverty, not least because it isn't paid to those people who are workless. Thus, even though the aspiration to increase the NLW to two-thirds of the median income are laudable, its not a great method of reducing poverty.

Richard Partington looks here at the level of absolute poverty in the UK, which has reached 12 million, 3.6 million of them children and whether or not economic growth can. by itself, help tackle this. Of course, you should be able to define absolute poverty, and think of policies that might help.

However, for all the forced optimism of yesterday, it's unlikely that economic growth is going to be enough. Much of the supposedly targeted help is ill-directed and there's little evidence of any improvement. It's noticeable that the most deprived areas of the country are still seeing the fastest rises in poverty levels.

The extent to which the workforce has shrunk since the pandemic is reiterated in this BBC piece that highlights rising levels of sickness, and the commensurate decline in the workforce.

This, of course, has significant implications for the economy's supply-side and the ability of a government to achieve its macroeconomic objectives.

Graham Watson

Graham Watson has taught Economics for over twenty years. He contributes to tutor2u, reads voraciously and is interested in all aspects of Teaching and Learning.

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