The 2008 financial crisis and subsequent austerity measures have seen the most sustained decline in household incomes since the 1930s. According to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, more than 13 million people were living in poverty in 2014, and the 2012 UK Poverty and Social Exclusion Survey reveals that the extent of deprivation has increased dramatically since the last survey in 1999. In this context, Eldin Fahmy examines here the main UK political parties’ policy commitments on poverty.
It is impossible here to provide a full assessment of the scope of policy commitments on poverty partly because poverty is a policy arena with implications across a very broad remit of governmental responsibilities including, for example, health, housing, education, labour markets, and migration. A more comprehensive assessment is provided by the UK Academics Stand against Poverty. This commentary considers the anti-poverty implications of UK political parties’ commitments in relation to fiscal policy and social security policies before going on to summarise some of the key commonalities (and shortcomings) of existing political discourse on poverty in the UK as reflected in party manifestos.