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In 2016 the UK’s Conservative Government radically changed the official approach to child poverty measurement, scrapping targets for income poverty and material deprivation and introducing instead indicators of household ‘worklessness’ and children’s educational attainment at age 16. This paper seeks to assess the extent of support for this move among a range of national experts. The paper briefly reviews the way that poverty has been conceptualized by researchers going back to Booth and Rowntree, before going on to examine 251 responses to a 2012–2013 UK government consultation on child poverty measurement. By drawing on the consultation, the paper is able to consider the views of those working in local authorities, children’s charities and frontline services as well as academic researchers. In doing so, it seeks to contribute to the literature on poverty measurement by considering a wider set of voices than are often heard. The paper identifies very clear and broad-based support for an approach to poverty measurement that has income and material deprivation at its heart. Out of 251 responses, just two advocate removing income from poverty measurement. Responses also overwhelmingly reflect a relative understanding of poverty. There is fairly limited support for a multidimensional approach, and the paper reflects on why this might be, given a shift to more multidimensional thinking about poverty globally. It concludes that poverty measurement is highly political: what is measured drives policy, and preferences for indicators therefore reflect, at least in part, current political concerns about how best to hold government to account.
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- Child Poverty Measurement in the UK: Assessing Support for the Downgrading of Income-Based Poverty Measures
- Springer Netherlands
Social Indicators Research
An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement
Print ISSN: 0303-8300
Elektronische ISSN: 1573-0921
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