Research published this month could pave the way for analysing
poverty reduction strategies in greater detail.
A joint report by the Department for Transport, Local Government
and the Regions and the government’s social exclusion unit has
examined data on benefit claimants to give a detailed picture of
income deprivation across England.
Using anonymous records of income support and jobseeker’s
allowance claimants between 1995 and 1998, the research aims to
provide baseline data that can be used at national, regional,
district and ward levels to measure the success of government
strategies, such as the national strategy for neighbourhood
renewal, the new deal for communities, and other regeneration
Initially commissioned by the SEU, the research project will
continue with funding from the social research charity the Joseph
Examples of the findings include that more than 50 per cent of
children were living in poverty in some local authorities in 1995
and which grew to more than 60 per cent in some wards.
By 1998 child poverty had fallen in all districts, but in four
local authorities it still exceeded 45 per cent.
The overall picture in England reveals claimant numbers falling
from 4.9 million to 4.1 million, although the fall is not shared
equally across all claimant groups, says the report.
The numbers of unemployed people claiming a benefit had fallen
by almost half, while lone parent claimants and claimants aged over
60 had seen smaller drops. But in the “disabled and other” category
of claimants, the numbers had risen from 900,000 to one
“The research is not a panacea for everything,” said the
report’s co-author Mike Noble. “It is one of an armoury of tools to
inform policy, but it’s an important one.”
Meanwhile, just over 60 per cent of people had incomes below the
national mean average during 1999-2000, according to a report by
the Department of Work and Pensions.
The DWP report also finds little change in the proportion of
low-income households from 1994 to 2000, while during the same
period income equality rose slightly.
DTLR and SEU, Changing Fortunes: Geographic Patterns of
Income Deprivation in the Late 1990s, available from 01709
DWP, Households Below Average Income 1999-2000,
available from www.dss.gov.uk/publications/dss/2001/hbai/index.htm