Thatcherism saw child poverty grow by 121 per cent

Yesterday we ran a piece on the level of people living in poverty under Margaret Thatcher in response to a claim by Guido Fawkes which claimed the poor had "got richer under Thatcher". I dealt with a lot of this yesterday; but here is another graph showing a bit more straightforwardly the growth in relative poverty during the Thatcher years.

Yesterday we ran a piece on the number of people living in poverty under Margaret Thatcher in response to a claim by Guido Fawkes which claimed the poor had “got richer under Thatcher”.

I dealt with a lot of this yesterday; but here is another graph showing a bit more straightforwardly the growth in relative poverty during the Thatcher years.

Source: http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/hbai/hbai2011/pdf_files/full_hbai12.pdf (p.60)

Percentages are perhaps more helpful, however, because, as Tim Nichols of the Child Poverty Action Group put it, the numbers can be affected by changes in the size of different population groups (there were more pensioners, but fewer children at the end of Thatcher’s time in office). Percentages may therefore make more sense.

For relative poverty, in percentages and after housing costs, the changes from 1979 to 1991 were as follows:

  • Whole population: 13%, increased to 24% – an increase by (not of) 85%
  • Children: – 14%, increased to 31% – an increase by 121%
  • Pensioners: 29%, increased to 36% – an increase by 24%

HT Tim Nichols of the Child Poverty Action Group.

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14 Responses to “Thatcherism saw child poverty grow by 121 per cent”

  1. Gareth Millward

    While clearly poverty increased under Thatcher, there is a danger in using relative poverty figures. The Tories at the time constantly attacked the left for using it as a measure, at one point saying poverty campaigners would find poverty in paradise.

    That said, absolute poverty – what the Tories would like you to use, since they can claim anything above starvation isn’t poverty – is also useless. So, while you’re never going to get reliable figures, these are a definite indicator of how unfair and unequal Britain became as a result of taxation and welfare policies designed to help the rich. Not enough money for disabled housewives – plenty of money for mortgage payment credits.

  2. Tony G

    Child poverty didn’t grow by 121%. The child poverty percentage rate grew by 121%, which is pretty meaningless whatever Tim Nichols says. For example, if child poverty grew from 1.4% to 3.1%, it would still be be a “121% increase”. It tells you very little.

    Child poverty grew by… 95%. Or you could say more reasonably that the child poverty rate went up by 16 percentage points.

  3. OldLb

    You’re ignoring the debts.

    Under Labour the pensions debt grew by 736 bn a year.

    Include the debts, and everyone in the UK has net assets of zero.

  4. OldLb

    More importantly, you have to ask does the welfare state help the low paid and poor?

    If you’re one of the Philpott mob you’ve had a lottery win. He’s received 4 million in payments and services.

    That’s made lots of people very poor.

    Now scale it up for others, and the problem is very large.

    They’ve lost their pensions to the welfare state that can’t pay.

  5. OldLb

    Zero content.

    From your pic, you’re quite young.

    Take a little time to read this.

    http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171766_263808.pdf

    Is very short. It’s from the ONS.

    In particular, look at what they owed on the pensions 2 years ago.

    Compare that with the total wealth of the UK.

    Ask yourself, can they pay your pension? I presume you do want to retire.

    If you’re working for the state, ask the question, who is going to win. 30% of the population that Shelter say – rightly – have only enough money to last 1 month, or a retired civil servant on a comfortable pension, indexed linked etc.

    I know who wins.

    Similarly, you will be outvoted by the greys. You will have to pay the tax and you won’t get the services.

  6. Tim Nichols

    Tony G

    Yes it is also correct to say as you did that the child poverty rate went up by 16 percentage points. You seem to be chastising me for saying ‘half a dozen carrots’ instead of ‘6 carrots’. Neither is more or less reasonable, it is just the same.

  7. I call out douches

    Wow. What a douche

  8. Gareth Millward

    I’m honoured. However, having this guy spam the same argument (with no practical solutions) over every post on this site gets tiresome. So, meh. Why not troll the troll?

  9. SadButMadLad

    Looking at the source, you can also use a different table to say different things. The table on the next page has figures for the number of individuals falling below various thresholds of 1998/99 median income *held constant in real terms*.

    For 1979, there were 18.8m and in 1991/92 16.2m for people below the 60% median level after housing costs. So using the same source of data, I can say quite truthfully that under Thatcher the poor were better off.

    It’s amazing how you can use figures to push a point. Especially if you don’t explain your workings and try and bamboozle readers with fancy ways of using percentages.

    And what is this poverty really. They still had access to education, health care, a roof over their heads. They probably also had a cooker, a fridge, food, clothing, and access to some form of entertainment. Not quite what many would class as poverty.

  10. Cole

    Yawn. Not that again.

  11. QWERT

    completely pathetic use of statistics here – “relative” poverty so really just a measure of inequality rather than actual incomes of poor households and The child poverty percentage rate will also overestimate the truth.

  12. micklikeariot

    James Bloodworth dabbles in stats and falls flat on his face again. You’re getting a rep. Can I give you some advice, and I hope you don’t find this patronising. Don’t have a political opinion or ideology and attempt to fit stats to it. Read stats and scrutinise them and see if conclusions can be drawn. You may not like the conclusions, but you must do it that way round. And if the answer is “I cannot draw a reliable conclusion from these stats” then put your keyboard away and don’t write an article about it.

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