Catch Up: 21st Century Britain, Where One in Five Live in Poverty
Joseph Rowntree Foundation: Time for a National Mission on Poverty
UK Poverty 2017 highlights that overall, 14 million people live in poverty in the UK – over one in five of the population. This is made up of eight million working-age adults, four million children and 1.9 million pensioners. 8 million live in families where at least one person is in work.
Over the last 20 years, the UK has dramatically reduced poverty among people who had traditionally been most at risk – pensioners and certain types of families with children. But that progress is beginning to unravel; poverty rates for both groups have started to rise again.
The analysis highlights that the three factors which have led to a fall in poverty and are now under question; state support for many of those on low incomes is falling in real terms, rents are increasing, and rising employment is no longer reducing poverty. As a result, JRF is calling for a national mission to transform the prospects of millions of people living in poverty in the UK.
Resolution Foundation: What does Slowing Life Expectancy Mean for the State Pension?
Demographic projections are often wrong, but the greatest error has tended to lie with expectations of migration or birth patterns. Improving mortality had become something of a given. It’s stalled in recent years, and by enough for ONS to reduce their expectations of how fast life expectancy will improve in future. Exactly what is driving this slowdown is less clear.
Some have linked this stalled trend in mortality improvements to the impact of austerity on health services. Others have drawn attent to the persistent link between low life expectancy and local areas with high levels of deprivation. The ONS states that the reasons remain unclear but include among a range of possible factors greater resistance to antibiotics. What is clear is that government cannot simply rely on this being a blip. It must do far more to get to the root causes of this weakened outlook for longevity.
Lower life expectancy has an immediate feed through into at least one policy area – the State Pension Age (SPA). The rise in retirement age to 66 by 2020 and 67 by 2028, along with the path of future rises to age 68 and beyond have all been based on a principle of maintaining at least a third of adult of life in retirement. Meeting that expectation is now looking less likely.
Demos: Careers Strategies Cannot Leave the Disadvantaged Behind
It makes sense for employers to have a key role in careers education. Evidence suggests that a young person who has at least four encounters with an employer (let alone the seven promised in the strategy) is 86% less likely to be NEET and can earn up to 22% more in their career. By meeting employers, pupils can get an idea of the opportunities available in their local area, while businesses can gain direct access to a talent pool, boosting their recruitment. With the addition of a devolved skills policy, greater engagement between young people and local employers could help the nation develop the workforce needed to meet the demands of the changing economy.
But the continued focus on engaging employers in careers education could prove to be at odds with another of the Government’s stated aims in the strategy: to “end the generational cycle of disadvantage” and to support people to “look beyond their immediate environment to new and exciting possibilities.” The employers who are most likely to be able to make the time to come into schools to deliver careers advice are local employers. Indeed, the benefit outlined above of using employer-led career education to address local skills shortages relies on the employers being local. While this approach might not necessarily entail any disadvantage for pupils in the capital and other big cities, where a diverse range of employers can reach different parts of the city with little difficulty, the story may be very different in rural areas, or disadvantaged towns in which a single industry dominates. It would be very difficult for a young person to “look beyond their immediate environment” and imagine the full range of opportunities open to them if that range is not reflected in the employers they see.
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