Monday, May 16, 2016

"Rubber-band" Poverty

One in three people have experienced poverty in recent years, according to figures that underline the precarious nature of work in Britain. Anti-poverty campaigners say it highlights Britons’ relatively high chances of falling into poverty as the latest evidence that a preponderance of low-paying and low-skilled jobs left many families at risk of hardship. Other evidence of low job security in the UK. Between 2010 and 2013, 7.8% of the UK population entered poverty for the first time. Only Ireland and Greece in the EU had higher entry rates.

In 2014 6.5% of the UK population was in persistent poverty, amounting to approximately 3.9 million people. Between 2011 and 2014, 32.5% of the UK population experienced relative income poverty at least once (low income of less than 60% of median household income.)

The ONS also noted that some people were significantly more at risk of enduring poverty than others. The persistent poverty rate was higher for women than for men and it was higher for single-person households than those with two adults. Education also played a role, and two in five people who left school without any formal qualifications experienced poverty at least once between 2011 and 2014, the ONS said. That compared with one in five of those with a degree or higher.

The Trades Union Congress said the relatively high chance of falling into poverty in the UK was a longstanding trend. “We have a long history of what is called ‘rubber band’* or recurrent poverty – lots of people who bounce between being and not quite being poor,” said Richard Exell, the TUC’s senior labour market analyst. “There are long-term institutional factors including weak trade unions, low collective bargaining coverage, an economy that has large numbers of people at the bottom end of the skills range and a lack of vocational training.” [*SOYMB might call it robber-band poverty]

Julia Unwin, chief executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said the figures showed the government must do more to increase social mobility and job security.

 Labour market experts emphasise that record high employment has failed to usher in a corresponding recovery in wage growth. Some of that is explained by the fact many of the jobs being created are in low-paying, low-skilled work where there is little prospect of promotion. Conor D’Arcy, a policy analyst at the Resolution Foundation thinktank, said the figures in part reflected the fact job tenure was relatively short in the UK. The figures also echoed the thinktank’s findings that people in the UK struggle to escape low pay. A Resolution Foundation investigation last year found that over a 10-year period, just one in four low-paid workers managed to move on to consistently higher wages.


Anonymous said...

No one believes this. Unemployed people who are sat on the setee in front a high definition TV stuffing themselves with pizza while talking on a mobile are not 'poor'.

matthew culbert said...

Your prejudiced definition of qualifying what is not 'poor' leaves much to be desired.Having a mobile phone contact number, usually a prepaid deal, is an essential requirement of job seeking apparatus and one can be subject to a penalty if one does not make oneself, available in this way.

Anonymous said...

Well, I'm describing myself! Pardon me for getting all empirical. Recently re-read Orwell's 'Road to Wigan Pier'. Pretty poor stuff. The man was no socialist. But the description of working class poverty 70 odd years ago is still affecting. The 'poor' today live like lords in comparison.

matthew culbert said...

The poor don't ever live like Lords. Your comparison is with the wrong class. The comparative relationship of the exploited should set against the exploiter capitalist class of today many of whom have seats in the Lords.

Some of those absolute conditions depicted by Orwell still exist and have been exported to so called developing countries. Also hidden from view is the 'gang labour' practises of some in agricultural and seasonal sectors.

Anonymous said...

'Live like lords' is a figure of speech for goodness sake.If consciousness is determined by circumstances and you expect the working class at some point to become dissatisfied with those circumstances and go for revolution you are in for a long wait. In fact, experience has effectively refuted the 'consciousness is determined by circumstance' argument. So at least you could say it was a scientific statement. Scientists either emend or throw out a refuted theory. 'Scientific' socialists, however, cling on to them for dear life. Understandable in that they have got little else to offer.

ajohnstone said...

"experience has effectively refuted the 'consciousness is determined by circumstance' argument."

Could you perhaps expand upon this statement and provide some evidence for your claim.

"consciousness is determined by circumstance"

Our case does not rest entirely on that claim but adds the importance of the battle of ideological case for socialism also has to be be made, not just the deterministic automaticity for socialist consciousness. If it were the case, there is no need for a socialist party nor even socialists to try to persuade fellow workers of the various courses they can set for themselves. We'd just settle back and sit for socialism to arrive. Even class struggle does not guarantee such a development but can become an endless treadmill...a hamsters wheel of activity going nowhere.

matthew culbert said...

We are in for 'as long as it takes'. We are far from the theory of, "consciousness being determined by social being" having been disproved and witness vast sums of money being spent to manipulate narratives which represent capitalism as the only choice available.