January 22, 2014

What is this poverty thing?

In PMQ's, Ed Miliband claimed that 13 million people in this country are "in poverty", many of them working (and presumably receiving tax credits).

"In poverty" sounds somehow more official and defined than calling them "poor".

Thirteen million people out of 60 million. That's more than 20% of the total population.

What sense does it make to define poverty so that over 20% of people are defined as "poor"? - unless of course you want to make a political point.

What is this poverty? It's a slippery concept. People in Benefits Street can afford cigarettes. Are 13 million people starving in the gutter? No. Are 13 million people shivering in the cold (thanks in no small part to Mr Miliband's energy policies)? No. So what is this "poverty" and how can we recognise it?

It sounds like an excuse for a further programme of state confiscation and redistribution even more sweeping than tax credits.

How Labour would relish that.

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