Tag Archives: declan gaffney

Weekly Round up 23/03/2012

Apologies for missing the weekly round-up last week but time was a bit tight and basically everyone was talking about what might happen in the Budget so we thought it might be better to leave it and let everyone talk about what did happen in the budget before posting again……

News in Brief


It’s been covered in great detail elsewhere so we won’t spend too long on the Budget here. But, JRF produced a very good briefing on what the budget meant for child poverty and IPPR looked at the impact of the budget on the North.

The Guardian asked a panel of experts, inclduing Alison Garnham, Chief Exec of CPAG. for their views and The IFS produced a good summary of the whole thing in 13 slides. The figure below is taken from the chapter on the impact on Households within the Budget document (available here), which shows that the poorest quintile of households suffered the most, with exception of the richest quintile

Regional Pay was a Budget issue that concerned people in the North East and The Journal and the Shields Gazette and the Sunderland Echo all covered this issue from a North East perspective, The Guardian suggested it could lead to regional shortages of teachers and the TUC launched a Pay Fair campaign on Twitter


JRF and Women Like Us produced a very interesting piece of work on the benefits (and challenges) of building a sustainable quality part-time recruitment marketwhile, coincidentally, Salon published a piece by Sara Robinson which suggested that 150 years of research proves that long hours at work kill profits, productivity and employees.

The TUC published their latest Employment Blackspots and the North East was , unfortunately, well represented. Middlebrough was the second hardest place to get a job with approximately 24 claimants for every vacancy and threee other Local Authorities in the North East in the top 10 for youth unemployment.

Education – pupil premium

The Guardian published some data obtained by David Lammy MP that suggested that the Pupil Premium was ending up in places where it might be hard to argue it was most needed. The Full Fact website checked out this assertion a few weeks ago….

General comment

Lots of comment this week to distract you from the Budget….

Fraser Nelson argued in The Telegraph that ‘At the heart of the Child Poverty Act lies an agenda which has arguably done more damage to Britain’s social fabric than any idea in modern history’ 

David Brady argued for a wider view of the welfare state in The Guardian, who also featured articles on ‘the working poor’ in the UK today and the supposed ‘culture of poverty’ in the US – all worth reading.

The Centre for Research on Families and Relationships published a report on Parenting on a Low Income and The Nuffield Foundation published a report exploring the role of informal childcare in the UK.

Graphics of the week

An excellent graph from the New Economics Foundation who called the the budget one ‘for the 1%’. The graph, which will get bigger if you click on it, suggests that it is not the size of our public sector debt that should be the primary concern of our nation….

Best wishes,



Weekly Round up 09/03/2012

News in Brief

Welfare Reform

Wednesday saw the launch of a report to Save Child Benefit, organised by CPAG and the topic of child benefit occupied a lot of political comment this week. The Telegraph, The Spectator and The Guardian all offered views on the proposal to withdraw child benefit from higher rate taxpayers. You gov suggest that 68% of the population thought the new rules are unfair. Despite all of the column inches devoted to the subject, one of the most sensible and succinct offerings came online, via Paul Spicker’s Social Policy blog:

The main argument for cutting Child Benefit seems to be that it will help to cut the deficit. If the government wanted to increase the burden on richer families, it has the option of clawing back the benefit through the tax system. It would make more sense to tax all higher rate payers, rather than only those with children. If the government was serious about cutting the deficit, they would be raising tax. The fact they are not talking about raising tax is a strong indication that this is not really about balancing the books. They are focusing on public spending, which is quite a different issue.

Tax credits were also in the news this week with the announcement that some working families would be better off on benefits

The Welfare Reform Bill became law this week (not last week as I had reported here 7 days ago!!) and Iain Duncan Smith stated:

The Universal Credit will mean that work will pay for the first time, helping to lift people out of worklessness and the endless cycle of benefits. Whilst those people who need our help and support will know they will get it without question

The Sun has started a ‘Beat the Cheat’ campaign encouraging members of the public to telephone the benefit fraud hotline if they suspect someone of being a ‘fiddling scrounger’. An excellent post by Declan Gaffney on his L’Art Social blog and one on The Guardian Comment is Free site offered alternative views on the crack down on ‘benefit cheats’.

Child poverty stats

The Guardian and Experian released information ranking each local authority area in England against a  number of poverty indicators. Unfortuantely for the North East, each of the 2 Local Authorities in the region were placed in the top 70 (the top 20%) overall. Middlesbrough topped the list and South Tynseide also made it into the top ten. The Guardian also charted the decline of Middlesbrough using the tale of the Tuxedo Royale floating nightclub, pictured at the top of the post and well known to many in the region…

General comment

The Guardian reported on an IFS report that suggested that the poorest families were most affected by the austerity measures of the Coalition Government.

Alison Garnham, the Chief Executive of CPAG, gave an interview to Nursery World which can be found here

Signpost(s) of the week

A series of photographs in last weeks New Statesman depicting what life is like for a poor child in Britain today

The Feminisation of Poverty and the Myth of the Welfare Queen – an excellent article in the week of International Women’s Day.

Rafael Behr asked if Labour can start a different conversation about benefits

Graphic of the week

It has to be the interactive ‘poverty maps’ provided by The Guardian and Experian. Click on the maps below to take you to The Guardian website where you can see how your local area fared.

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