Poverty Based On Varying Factors

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Through history reasons for poverty have been assumed and studied, these reports have been used to identify levels of poverty based on varying factors. This is a brief study of what poverty is and how it has changed through time. Examining the differing political viewpoints and social theories as to why poverty exists and why eradicating it has proved difficult.

Poverty was originally viewed the fault of the person, not their situation. The Poor Law act 1601 classified the poor as: impotent, able bodied or persistent idlers. Following industrialisation and decreasing agricultural jobs, workers moved to factories, earning less and in appalling conditions. The Poor Law act amendment 1834 made workhouse conditions deliberately severe to
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After WW1 and the great depression, less money entered the economy than went out. The Beveridge report 1942 identified ‘five giants’: Idleness, Squalor, Want, Disease and Ignorance arguing for government intervention to ensure there was a minimum living standard for all. Suggesting support for full employment, NHS and family allowances but costings meant not all Beveridge’s ideas were implemented (The National Archives, d.u.).
With a greater Welfare State from Labour in 1945, married women could continue to work post war, giving them sustainability from their husbands. Improvements in the social wage proved the strength of the working class along with a capitalist ability to afford it. In 1961 oral contraceptives liberated women, giving them power over birth control, next the Abortion Act in 1967 allowed women control over their lives financially and their bodies. Feminists saw lower pay as pushing women into poverty, women seen as exploited at home, having a ‘double shift’ of home and work, normally in part time unsecured low paying jobs. October 2014 Office of National Statistics figures show 42% of women employed part time compared to 11% of men. Austerity measures implemented by the coalition government cut jobs mainly filled by women, as lower consumer spending reduced so did retail jobs(Taylor, 2014).
In 1965 Townsend and Abel-Smith measured poverty
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