Myths and counter-myths

I'm not sure where this chart https://twitter.com/GavinEdwards77/status/329203347208949760/photo/1 which has been doing the rounds on twitter originates from, but it seems to have quickly acquired mythological status. It appears to show the number of times the word(s) 'scrounger(s)' appeared in the UK press from 1994 to the present, with a huge unprecedented rise coinciding with the arrival of the coalition in power.

History matters: working age and child poverty 1961-2010/11

Over at Joseph Rowntree Foundation's #antipoverty communications debate, people have been talking about the need to depoliticise public discussion of poverty. Whatever your views on whether that's possible or desirable, depoliticisation surely shouldn't come at the cost of de-historicisation. Hence this chart, which shows the timing of the rise in poverty for working age adults and children.

Poverty in the UK has a history: some- not all- of that history is political. Let's not pretend otherwise.

IDS is spinning against his own department

From the BBC news website: 'The number of households that will be affected by a new £500 a week benefit cap has fallen by over a quarter, the Department for Work and Pensions says.The government initially estimated that 56,000 households would see their benefits reduced by the policy, losing on average around £93 per week.It now expects 40,000 households to be affected.
The department said the change came as more people sought help to get into work.'

'The biggest administrative fiasco in the history of the welfare state'

In which I come a poor second to Jules Birch http://www.insidehousing.co.uk/taking-the-strain/6526460.blog in drawing out the parallels between the problems with the1983 housing benefit changes as recounted by Nicholas Timmins and the current worries about Universal Credit.

Did claims for DLA increase in the run-up to PIP?

In an article in yesterday's Evening Standard Iain Duncan Smith is quoted as saying that there has been an increase in DLA claims because people were trying to qualify for the benefit before its replacement by the new Personal Independence Payment introduced this week. "We've seen a rise in the run-up to PIP. And you know why? They know PIP has a health check. They want to get in early, get ahead of it.

That obscure object of welfare reform

Reflections on a week of exceptionally dismal welfare coverage, followed by some historical cross-national analysis of trends in working age welfare spending, Caveat lector: this analysis is provisional. Instructions for how to replicate it are in the text.

The language that we used

It's been widely noted that Ed Miliband made a point of using the words 'social security' in his major speech today http://labourlist.org/2013/06/full-text-ed-miliband-speech-a-one-nation-.... Richard Exell comments: ...'it was nice to hear the term “social security” being rehabilitated by a leading politician.

Grant Shapps owes us all a correction and an apology

I've invited housing minister Grant Shapps, via Twitter, to correct an inaccurate statistic which he promoted in several print and broadcast outlets over the Bank Holiday weekend.

Stagnation may be worse than we think

Over on the TUC's indispensable Touchstone blog Richard Exell charts household consumption expenditure, using the latest release from ONS which takes us up to the last quarter of 2012 http://touchstoneblog.org.uk/2013/03/stagnation-charts-1/ It's essential to look at household spending as well as income, because the two don't necessarily move together, even over quite extended periods.

Benefit cuts and the London rental market: the difference between 'very big' and 'infinite'

Some pictures are worth a thousand words. Not this one: in fact it requires about a thousand words of explanation. But what it shows is quite simple - tenants receiving Local Housing Allowance in London prior to the government's restrictions to the benefit tended, contrary to what has often been asserted, to live in cheaper areas, subject -crucially- to the local availability of rented accommodation. An opener for discussion of the impact of LHA restrictions on London's social geography in succeeding posts.

Pages