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article imageOp-Ed: Wake of Tory election triumph sees new poverty warning

By Tim Sandle     May 8, 2015 in Politics
As David Cameron celebrates five more years as the U.K. Prime Minister by raising a glass of champagne, a new report casts a shadow over the state of poverty in Britain.
The U.K. is the world's sixth largest economy, however one in five of the U.K. population live below our official poverty line. This figure has increased since 2010, as a fall-out from the policies of the David Cameron led government. As David Cameron celebrates another election victory, having shaken off the need to collaborate with the opportunist Liberal Democrats, a new report presents a worsening state for the poorer people in British society.
Poverty has risen over the past five years in the U.K. According to the New Policy Institute, the number slipping into poverty rose by an estimated 760,000. Here, child poverty showed the biggest increase, with 300,000 youngsters slipping below the acceptable threshold.
A second report, commissioned by the Trade Union Congress, indicates that many individuals and families in poverty are in work. The problem is that the minimum wage is not sufficient for people to get by without being reliant upon benefits. What has also happened under the previous Conservative-Liberal Democrat Government, is that many benefits have been slashed. Where the welfare system was once designed to prevent people from falling into poverty when they face a crisis, it has reached a state where it is incapable of doing so.
It is due to the problems of surviving on the minimum wage that an alternative "living wage" has been proposed. When this figure is factored in, then the report indicates that one in five jobs pays under the living wage. The living wage is currently set at £9.15 in London and £7.85 across the rest of Britain.
With the Conservative Party operating to support big business and set to push through policies designed to help the rich become richer (altering the inheritance tax threshold and lowering the higher rate of income tax), the poverty issue is unlikely to be addressed significantly during the course of the next parliament.
A group of researchers under the banner of Academics Stand Against Poverty (UK) define poverty as the absence of a flourishing life. They have written a report and their analysis of the Conservative Party manifesto indicates that there are no policies that are being put forwards that will address the plight of the poor in the U.K., as they write polices over the past five years have been "unsuccessful in redressing low wages and more of the same seems unlikely to do so."
For those concerned about a fairer and more equal society, the outcome of the U.K. general election spell bad news.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about Poverty, Child poverty, Conservative, David Cameron
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