A report said that the United Kingdom welfare system was deeply unjust, and proposed a system of basic income security, involving the integration of income tax and benefits into one system, and the payment of a basic income for all United Kingdom citizens at a rate that would be high enough to end poverty. The recommendations were discussed in the context of Scottish independence, or further fiscal autonomy, which the authors suggested would create the conditions for changes to the existing welfare system.
Source: Simon Duffy and John Dalrymple, Let's Scrap the DWP: The case for basic income security in Scotland, Centre for Welfare Reform
A report examined public attitudes to poverty and how they had changed since 2008. It said that economic circumstances in recent years had led some to reconsider their views, that participants considered poverty to be about more than just income, and that some questioned whether the term 'poverty' was appropriate in the United Kingdom context (suggesting the term 'need' as an alternative). The report said that participants had viewed a needs-based definition of poverty positively, but still felt that other factors (such as lack of opportunity, lack of aspiration, not having a support network, the psychological impact, and inability to participate in society) could help to encapsulate more fully the experience of living in poverty.
Source: Suzanne Hall, Katrina Leary, and Helen Greevy, Public Attitudes to Poverty, Joseph Rowntree Foundation
A themed section of a journal examined representations of people living in poverty and the politics of welfare reform, in the context of a United Kingdom television series (Benefits Street) that had raised the idea that there were whole communities of people who were disconnected from paid work.
Source: Sociological Research Online, Volume 19 Issue 3
Links: Table of contents
Notes: Articles included:
Jessica Pykett, 'Representing attitudes to welfare dependency: relational geographies of welfare'
Kim Allen, Imogen Tyler, and Sara De Benedictis, 'Thinking with "White Dee": the gender politics of "austerity porn"'
Robert MacDonald, Tracy Shildrick, and Andy Furlong, '"Benefits Street" and the myth of workless communities'
A think-tank report discussed the potential for improving well-being and addressing climate change through the development of a more equal society, and called for the democratization of economic institutions.
Source: Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, A Convenient Truth: A better society for us and the planet, Fabian Society
A report provided findings from a series of commissioned reviews of existing policy and research on a wide range of social issues related to poverty and poverty reduction in the United Kingdom. The report was presented in five sections: the bigger picture (including sections on: demographic change; devolution; gender; international anti-poverty strategies; regeneration; religion; sexual orientation; and well-being); welfare and work; money and the cost of living; education, personal relationships, and community; and complex needs. Some sections included links to more extensive reports.
Source: Reducing Poverty in the UK: A collection of evidence reviews, Joseph Rowntree Foundation
A report (by an official advisory body) said that research had found an over-representation of those educated at independent schools and Oxbridge in leadership positions in politics, business, the media, and other aspects of public life in the United Kingdom, suggesting that Britain was deeply elitist. The report said that this was caused by a complex coalition of factors, including wealth distribution, parenting of children, educational outcomes, and recruitment and promotion, and it made a range of recommendations, including: for government to collect data on the social background of staff and to open up recruitment into top jobs in the public sector; for changes in university admissions practices; and for employers to publish data on the background of staff and widen their recruitment through changing practices.
Source: Elitist Britain?, Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission
An article presented an account of need and examined some of the implications for discussions of poverty. It said that poverty involved unmet need, and that needs were necessary conditions for end-states. Statements about poverty would only be fully intelligible when the end-states for which 'the poor' lacked the necessary conditions were clearly understood.
Source: Seosamh Mac Carthaigh, 'Need and poverty', Policy & Politics, Volume 42 Number 3
An article examined perceptions of social justice among people with mental illness who were living in poverty. It said that research participants expressed a need for support of self-determination, and that there were multiple unmet needs, which required a multi-faceted approach in order to address them.
Source: Abraham Rudnick, Phyllis Montgomery, Robin Coatsworth-Puspoky, Benita Cohen, Cheryl Forchuk, Pam Lahey, Stewart Perry, and Ruth Schofield, 'Perspectives of social justice among people living with mental illness and poverty: a qualitative study', Journal of Poverty and Social Justice, Volume 22 Number 2
The government responded to a report by a joint committee of MPs and peers on the implications for access to justice of the government's proposals to reform judicial review.
Source: Government response to the Joint Committee on Human Rights: The implications for access to justice of the Government's proposals to reform judicial review, Cm 8896, Joint Select Committee on Human Rights, TSO
An article examined associations between place of residence and attitudes to inequality and income redistribution. Noting several associations, it said that current trends that sustained or extended inequalities, reflected in patterns of residence, might undermine social cohesion in the medium- to long-term, but the effect might be offset to some extent by rising residential ethnic diversity.
Source: Ade Kearns, Nick Bailey, Maria Gannon, Mark Livingston, and Alastair Leyland, '"All in it together"? Social cohesion in a divided society: attitudes to income inequality and redistribution in a residential context', Journal of Social Policy, Volume 43 Issue 3
An article examined the welfare loss caused by an unfair distribution of a particular outcome (such as income, health, and education) in Europe. Inequality of opportunity was defined as the welfare loss attributed to the outcome differences among individuals who exerted a similar level of effort. This definition was then applied empirically to the measurement of the welfare loss in the income distribution in Europe. A high degree of heterogeneity among European countries was observed: the loss due to inequality of opportunity ranged from almost zero to almost one-fifth of potential welfare.
Source: Aitor Calo-Blanco and Ignacio Garcia-Perez, 'On the welfare loss caused by inequality of opportunity', Journal of Economic Inequality, Volume 12 Number 2
A paper examined the impact on earnings inequality of a selective education system, comparing the differences in outcomes between two systems where one allocated pupils to schools based on ability (selective) and one allocated pupils based on proximity. It said that the wage distribution for individuals who grew up in selective schooling areas in England was quantitatively and statistically significantly more unequal.
Source: Simon Burgess, Matt Dickson, and Lindsey Macmillan, Selective Schooling Systems Increase Inequality, Centre for Market and Public Organisation (University of Bristol)
A new book examined the extent of, and reasons for, environmental justice/injustice in seven countries – the United States, Republic of Korea (South Korea), United Kingdom, Sweden, China, Bolivia, and Cuba. It critically explored the role of capitalism, and discussed a range of issues, including: race and class discrimination; citizen power; industrialization; political-economic context; and the influence of dominant environmental discourses.
Source: Karen Bell, Achieving Environmental Justice: A cross-national analysis, Policy Press
A new book examined access to justice (legal advice and representation). It said that law centres in Britain were struggling to provide legal advice and access to welfare rights to disadvantaged communities, and considered strategies to safeguard services while strengthening the basic ethics and principles of public service provision.
Source: Marjorie Mayo, Gerald Koessl, Matthew Scott, and Imogen Slater, Access to Justice for Disadvantaged Communities, Policy Press
A report provided a review of the evidence on the impacts of climate change on social justice in the United Kingdom. It said that lower-income and other disadvantaged groups were the most affected by, paid the most towards, and had the least opportunity to influence climate change and related policy. It said that the policy focus was on emergency response, rather than longer term and systemic solutions, and that research focused on the distribution of impact, rather than the social justice aspects. The report said there was a need for cross-sector policy responses and highlighted the benefits of incorporating a social justice approach.
Source: Ian Preston, Nick Banks, Katy Hargreaves, Aleksandra Kazmierczak, Karen Lucas, Ruth Mayne, Clare Downing, and Roger Street, Climate Change and Social Justice: An evidence review, Joseph Rowntree Foundation
A report examined the processes and indicators for measuring the impact of equality bodies in the European Union.
Source: Niall Crowley, Processes and Indicators for Measuring the Impact of Equality Bodies, Equinet (European Network of Equality Bodies)
A new book examined the viability of the European Union's economic and social model within and after the global economic crisis. It identified four key issues: the asymmetry of the legal and policy framework of the euro; tensions between the EU's 'economic constitution' and its normative aim of social justice; the role of civil society in overcoming these tensions; and the EU's global aspirations towards the creation of a viable socio-economic model.
Source: Dagmar Schiek (ed.), The EU Economic and Social Model in the Global Crisis: Interdisciplinary perspectives, Ashgate Publications
The government published its response to a consultation on new arrangements for informing government strategy and policy with disability expertise, following the closure of the non-departmental public body Equality 2025. It said that the government would establish a new strategic engagement forum, chaired by ministers, to discuss strategic priorities and direction. The first meeting would take place in April 2014.
Source: Better Working with Disabled People: The way forward, Department for Work and Pensions