Book News: October 30th, 2007

Edited by John MeadowcroftThe authors argue that UK welfare policies are actually promoting poverty. By targeting lone parents for additional support, the government has encouraged self-defeating behaviour that increases long-term hardship and family breakdown. Lone parent families are far less likely to leave poverty at any point in their lives compared with couple families.

The authors also criticise governments’ reliance on measures of relative poverty rather than absolute poverty. They argue that their research shows that received attitudes towards poverty are wide of the mark. After sixty years of the modern welfare state in which tens of billions of pounds have been spent annually on anti-poverty measures, substantial numbers of people remain dependent on state benefits as their only means of support. They conclude that it is time to rethink the intuitively appealing but questionable assumption that spending money to alleviate poverty brings about a straightforward reduction in the number of poor people.

Published by the Institute of Economic Affairs. 7.50 pounds.