Wednesday, 7 July 2010

ConDem Government Cuts and Poverty – Revisiting CPAG in the 70s

It is growing clearer and clearer that the brunt of the ConDem Government's cuts will fall heaviest on the poor and the low paid. As high percentages within these two groups women and ethnic minorities look like they are going to be particularly hit. We seem to have been here before in the first half of the 1970s. Frank Field, the Labour MP who is assisting the ConDems with welfare reform, was then Director of Child Poverty Action Group. I was active in the Wandsworth branch and for a while on the National Executive Committee. As part of sorting out my accumulated papers to decide what to do with them – retain, recycle, bin, donate, or sell I have been looking through my collection of CPAG duplicated pamphlets and memorandum, including several penned by Frank. Many of the titles seem very pertinent today: An Assessment of the relationships between poverty in Britain and the Third World and proposals for action; Co-ordinating the Attack on Family Poverty; Reducing the Poor's Living Standards at a Stroke, T'he Changing Burden of Taxation. Paper for the Expenditure Committee's Sub-Committee Enquiry into the Financing of Public Expenditure, Back to the Thirties for the Poor? Perhaps someone should re-visit the arguments used by Frank and CPAG to see which general principles and methods of analysis are applicable today to be the basis for analysing the effect of the cuts and assessing the effects of any reforms that are proposed.

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