When it comes to poverty reduction there is no question about it: the Coalition is repeating Labour's mistakes. This means negative consequences for people experiencing poverty and for the political and public opinion that makes action on poverty possible.
Today, JRF publishes Monitoring poverty and social exclusion 2011. This comes at a time when the UK Government has outlined its main policy intentions and strategy to reduce child poverty. Although the stats in our report mostly reflect the policies of the previous Government, the Labour record is the Coalition inheritance and that inheritance is mixed. Many of the improving trends are in education and health and represent long-term positive trends. Sadly, however, many of the measures on low income and work show a worse picture than five or ten years ago.
The Autumn Statement from the Chancellor on Tuesday seems set to exacerbate the situation as the Treasury's own analysis shows that people in poverty will be the ones that suffer the most. By choosing to make savings by cutting tax credits, surely even more working people will now be pushed into poverty. As Gordon Hector said in his blog, Welcome to Grim Britain, it's also at odds with the thinking behind the upcoming Universal Credit, which is supposed to ensure there's always a financial incentive to enter employment.
And why isn't there a poverty strategy for working-age adults? There is one for child poverty. The rise in working-age poverty represents one of the previous Government's biggest failures, and the lack of recognition of this is a major gap in the current Government's programme. We believe that a comprehensive anti-poverty strategy for all age groups is essential.