New evidence undermines Cameron’s ‘get a job’ mantra

Support us and go ad-free

David Cameron, when confronted with the impact of his government’s cuts program, has been mechanically repeating that ‘the best route out of poverty is to help people get a job’. He claims that the increase in employment, together with the increase of the national living wage by 2020, will lift people out of poverty, regardless of benefit cuts.

The fifth edition of London’s Poverty Profile, a report by New Policy Institute for the Trust for London charity, was published on Wednesday. It paints a very different picture.

The report reveals that 27% of Londoners live in poverty, and the majority of people living in poverty are in working families. The proportion is 7% higher when compared to the rest of England, due to unaffordable housing costs. The poverty threshold is understood as households with incomes of less than 60% of the national median after housing costs are included.

Employment, as Cameron boasts, is up. The figures show that the number of unemployed adults in London is at its lowest level since 2008, at just over 300,000. However, as employment has increased so has the number of people in a working family in poverty. The number has gone from 700,000 to 1.2 million in the last decade, an increase of 70%.

There are two reasons for this. Firstly, the number of low-paid jobs is up for the fifth consecutive year in London, with almost 1-in-5 jobs paid below the London Living Wage (£9.15 per hour). Secondly, there has been an increase in ‘lower-quality’ jobs; the number of temporary contracts is at a ten-year high.

Cutting tax credits would worsen this situation. The report states –

640,000 children benefit from in-work tax credits and are likely to be worse off when these are cut in April 2016.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

As already indicated by other research, the increase in the national living wage to £9.00 per hour by 2020 will not offset the impact of the cuts. The Canary previously observed that the rise is less than 5% per annum – energy bills are rising more than twice as fast. Furthermore, as pointed out by Mubin Haq, Director of Policy and Grants at Trust for London, the increase in the living wage proposed by the government is already below the London Living Wage of £9.15 per hour.

The evidence therefore shows that, contrary to the Prime Minister’s endlessly-recycled soundbite, under present conditions one cannot work one’s way out of poverty, and increases in the living wage will not offset the impact of the government’s cuts. Tackling the increase in zero-hour contracts, or genuinely committing to the provision of affordable housing, might have such an effect, but we are still awaiting a government proposal that might achieve either.


Featured image via Flickr Creative Commons

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed