There Is No Such Thing As Poverty In The Uk Today

1676 words - 7 pages

This essay will discuss whether poverty exists in the UK in today’s current climate. To gain a greater understanding of this subject, terms such as relative poverty and absolute poverty will be acknowledged and defined appropriately. Additionally, major theories of poverty linked to the individualistic and the dependency culture will be discussed and evaluated, before giving insight into how poverty is measured by using evidence gathered from statistical information. Furthermore, the viability of these measurements in regards to patterns of poverty will be scrutinised and discussed. Once all avenues have been explored and understood, this essay will conclude whether poverty actually exists in the UK.
When a person is said to be living in poverty, certain assumptions come to mind as to how or why that person is deprived; some of society will speculate that the impoverished are poor through their own doing and that they should work their own way out of poverty and not rely on welfare. However, when the measurement of poverty is understood the true picture starts to emerge. All humans require the basic necessities in order to keep themselves and their families alive; basic necessities are classed as food, water, shelter, health care and security. Any human being who is living without access to these basic needs to survive can be defined as living in absolute poverty (Walsh et al, 2000). Absolute poverty is the term given to people or households that are living below a certain income threshold and cannot afford goods or services that are required for everyday living. For example, those that live in homes without electric could be classified as living in absolute poverty; these individuals will have no heat, no light and no means of cooking meals, as the majority of household appliances function off mains gas or electric. Basic sanitation such as bathing or showering facilities will be unattainable as the majority of showers are electric; additionally, to have a warm bath, electric is required to power the boiler or the immersion heater. According to Harrison (2013), the number of children living in the UK that were in absolute poverty in 2011-12 was one in five, a figure of over two and a half million children. This may not change for many children; unlike relative poverty, absolute poverty does not change when the country becomes more prosperous, the living standards stay the same, furthermore, the only event that can change the measure of absolute poverty is inflation. “An absolute standard means one defined by reference to the actual needs of the poor and not by reference to the expenditure of those who are not poor. A family is poor if it cannot afford to eat” (Keith Joseph, 1979, as cited in Pantazis et al, 2006).
Relative poverty is a measurement that was introduced by Peter Townsend, it is this measurement that the UK government use to determine which households are living below sixty percent of the median household income...

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