Iain Duncan Cough ((c) Getty)
The objection to using 60% of the median income as a measure of relative poverty was most strident at the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA), and their suggestions as to how we should adopt a system which they would find ideologically acceptable was part of their “report” titled Welfare Reform In Tough Times (read it HERE), co-authored by the supremely intolerant Mike Denham, their so-called “research fellow”.
Where the policy originated: TPA HQ
Denham’s attitude to public service was summed up in the name of his equally intolerant blog Burning Our Money. The TPA declared that, at a minimum, the measure of relative poverty should be lowered to 50% of the median income, or that a measure of absolute poverty should be substituted, because, well, they use that in the USA, and that means that, in the eyes of the TPA, it must be inherently superior.
And so Duncan Cough told the world about his new targets: “Worklessness measures will identify the proportion of children living in workless households and the proportion of children in long-term workless households … The educational attainment measures will focus on GCSE attainment for all pupils and for particularly disadvantaged pupils”. This is total horseshit. Unemployed single parents mean poverty. Equally less well off working couples with children mean otherwise. And then there is the education criterion.
By the time GCSE attainment is calculated, the system will have long ago failed those being studied. Campaigner Harry Leslie Smith, who remembers life before the NHS, did not mince his words: “There is no polite word for a man like #IanDuncanSmith he is just the dregs at the bottom of ambition's barrel”. But IDS’ fans were more than happy.