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Poverty and the welfare state

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Poverty and the Welfare State Kerry McGillion Humanities A Defining poverty is an area of considerable controversy and on which there is a large academic debate. Debates tend to be informed by value judgements and the way we define poverty, to a large extent, depends on what we intend to do about it. Poverty has no common definition but numerous ones. It is said to be a state of want or of deprivation that gravely affects someone's life like those who want to work but cant, those who want to feed their families but can't, those whose lives are made similar by a lack of money. The UK government define poverty as "living on less than half the national average income after housing costs". Poverty can be measured in terms of absolute or relative poverty. Absolute poverty, which is sometimes used as a synonym for extreme poverty, refers to a set standard which is the same over time and between countries. An example of an absolute measurement would be the percentage of the population eating less food than is required to be healthy, which is roughly 2000-2500 calories per day for a male adult. ...read more.


The changes meant that the government took measures in policy to provide for the people of the United Kingdom which they referred to as "from the cradle to the grave." This policy resulted in massive expenditure and a great widening of what was considered to be the state's responsibility. In addition to the services of Education, Health, Unemployment and sickness allowances already put in place, the welfare state included the idea of increasing redistributive taxation, increasing regulation of industry food and better safety regulations for housing. It was believed that the overall cost of medical care would decrease, as people became more healthy and so needed less treatment. Instead the cost increased dramatically which, in 1951 led to severe financial problems, and charges for dentistry, Optometry and prescriptions by the same Labour government that had founded the NHS just three years earlier. Despite this, the principle of health care ("free at the point of use") became a central part of the dogma of the welfare state, which later governments critical of the welfare state were unable to reverse. The classic Welfare State period lasted from approximately 1945 to the 1970s, when policies under Margaret Thatchers leadership began to privatize public institutions, although many features of it remain today. ...read more.


Exchange-value is the value something has on a market. Exchange-value is created by adding work to something. A products exchange-value is determined by the average work needed to create the product for the market. Exchange-value is often described in work-time. Poverty in Scotland particularly, has fallen significantly from 23% in 2001-02 to 18% at the end of 2007. Evidence suggests that the poverty profile in Scotland reflects that of the UK as a whole. On some measures, such as child poverty, Scotland is doing slightly better. On others, such as fuel poverty, it is somewhat behind, but the variation in poverty rates is small and on average, matches that of the UK as a whole. Although the rates of poverty in Scotland and in the UK as a whole are now broadly similar, progress on reducing poverty over the past ten years has been faster in Scotland than in other parts of the UK. Evidence suggests that this is due to the fact that more people were simply living in poverty in Scotland in 1997. Furthermore,the target of eliminating child poverty by 2020,with interim targets of reducing rates by a quarter by 2004-05 and by a half in 2010-11, The Government failed to meet its national targets and due to this, 250,000 children are still living in poverty in Scotland today. ...read more.

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