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Poverty and Social Exclusion in the UK: Vol. 2The Dimensions of Disadvantage$
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Glen Bramley and Nick Bailey

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781447334224

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447334224.001.0001

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Fifty years of poverty in the UK

Fifty years of poverty in the UK

(p.27) One Fifty years of poverty in the UK
Poverty and Social Exclusion in the UK: Vol. 2

Joanna Mack

Policy Press

This chapter examines fifty years of poverty measurement, in particular the development of deprivation-based measures from Townsend’s definition of being ‘excluded from ordinary patterns’ of behaviour through Mack and Lansley’s idea of ‘socially-perceived necessities’ to wider frameworks based around Sen’s concept of ‘capabilities’. It argues that these developments have contributed to a widespread acceptance that poverty is relative, with what is seen as inadequate living standards changing as society changes. The chapter charts trends in deprivation and income poverty, and their growing divergence. While both measures reflected the sharp rise income inequality in the 1980s, in this millennium deprivation-based measures have continued to rise while relative income poverty has stabilised. This indicates that deprivation measures better reflect the adverse impact of stagnating wages, rising insecurity and declining public provision. The chapter concludes that poverty research needs to be firmly positioned within wider debates about growing economic and social inequalities.

Keywords:   Deprivation, Income poverty, Necessities, Well being, Inequality, Poverty measurement, Poverty trends, Living standards, Insecurity

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