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Social Policy and Welfare – Poverty and Deprivation


If a family has a house, car, television, DVD player, fridge, cooker and other gadgets… then to call them “poor” makes a mockery of the English language (Mckinstry 2007).

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Nowadays, the definition for poverty had been differently interpreted by people depending on the culture. Poverty is a kind of deprivation where in usual needs that define the quality of life such as food, clothing, shelter and water are not given to people. Poverty may also comprise of being deprived from learning, being employed and respect from other people. The statement by Mckinstry, largely accounts for the reality because having such gadgets basically proves that they enjoy the things that other people is being deprived of. Indeed, those are material things but to be poor implies a deeper justification like being deprived of the things that are just taken for granted by many people (Brady, 2003).

There are many arguments which points out to the reasons, impact and the people responsible for experiencing poverty through different countries. Also, a lot of measurements and programs have been implemented for lessening poverty worldwide. However, poverty is considered to be unwanted because it attributes pain and suffering, there are cultures that voluntarily give up such necessities which according to their beliefs. Poverty may greatly impact people and still not attached to developing nations. In many developing countries, poverty is apparent in a social dilemma like homelessness and other influential factors.

More with what Mckinstry stated, this indeed distinguishes what people think of their possessions. In order to be regarded as a poor, a person should define the real meaning of poverty and consider the grounds for being deprived. In many poor countries today, the scenario being described by Mckinstry is explicit where in they regard themselves as poor but they possess such things irrespective of the person’s social status (Brady, 2003).


Aspects of poverty may relatively cater to the material needs and usually involves the daily needs of an individual such as food, clothing and other. In this case, poverty may be viewed as a state where in a person or group lacks basic needs with a least standard of having a well-defined life specifically as an outcome of having low wages. Empirical observations have been made with associating social aspects to the conditions of insufficiency in the allocation of resources and power. This is determined in a society and viewed that poverty may be a result of the lessened capabilities of people to live according to the category of lives that they assume. The social aspects of poverty may also attribute with the issues of being deprived wit the access of information, health care and education, political power as well. This may be comprehended in the sense of an unjust social status and discriminatory social relationships, dependency, lack of opportunities to be included among organizations and social exclusion (Gladstone, 1973).

It had prevailed in various writings that poor people involves those who are under the unstable livelihoods, excluded locations, limitations on physical capabilities, gender relationships, dilemmas in social relationships, lack of security, over use of power towards them and weak community organizations (Banks et al., 2003).

The idea that poverty does not exist in Britain perhaps true but there still exists some marks of poverty and social exclusions. However, studies showed this condition in Britain at the close of twentieth century, but still minimal details of poverty left when the twenty first century came. Poverty during this time employs an assortment of criteria of poverty with the inclusion of income and the insufficiency of presumed needs. Britain’s welfare was achieved through liberalization in the later part of the century and somehow lessened the issue of poverty and deprivation (Banks et al., 2003). By the end of 1999, a number of Britain populations were still determined of low income and various deprivations of needs. Still, many people today in Britain can not afford to have a stable housing condition and important household goods. Also, there have been views that people have less capabilities of engaging into common social activities which are taken as an important factor for inclusion. British children are also deprived of what they need and almost two of the things that they essentially need are not achieved (Banks et al., 2003). Though Britain can be referred to as a developed country, there are still evidences such as adults who are deprived of proper clothing, and families who are not properly fed adds up to the illustration of poverty among certain places (Gladstone, 1973).

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Reasons of Poverty

There are many facts why poverty exists and it falls under different approaches. Some perspectives may be comprised of individual, cultural and structural cause. Generally, main aspects account for the responsibilities of the economy, government, demographic and social factors.

In economic sense, poverty arises due to unemployment. This is one of the main issues that are seen to be improved by many countries. As unemployment rate goes up, poverty is experienced more by the individuals and the whole economy because productivity is lessened in both manner of individual compensation and its economic contributions. Some communists view the institution of property rights itself as a reason of poverty. Also, unjust trade system in the market is seen to have the very high subsidies to and protective tariffs for agriculture in the developed world. This kind of system consumes the taxed money and adds to the prices for the consumers in developed world; reduces competition and good organization. In addition to, it puts off exports by more competitive agricultural and other sectors in the developed world because of the disciplinary trade barriers and weakens the very kind of industry where in the developing countries possess comparative advantages (Gladstone, 1973)..

Government relations include lack of democracy among poor places. Issues such as access to drinking water, literacy for women and health care have been severely conflicting. For an instance, in the terms of life expectancy, a certain status normally enjoys longer than the lower-status people. Opportunities for the resources are also determinants of poverty among the governance of authorities. It may largely be consequent that poor democracies do not spend more on the health and education aspects for their living and they as well do not enjoy the good quality of foreign assistance (Brady, 2003). The efficacy of government administration has a great impact on the liberation of socioeconomic results for poor populations. Frail rule of law can put off investments and hence increase poverty. Demographic and social factors include the overpopulation and lack of knowledge on birth control methods are seen in this category. Population growth decreases and perhaps may become negative as it lessen due to the transitions in demography.

An absolute poverty can be illustrated as the assessment for the number of people that lives below the poverty line or a particular income entry or the number of household who cannot afford to attain the basic goods and services. On the other hand, a relative poverty signifies the grounds to which a household financial resources flap under an average income for the economy. However, the standard of living and real incomes have increased because of higher employment and an economic growth over the years; profits still have been unequally allocated across the population (Brady, 2003).

Thus, the idea that poverty does not exists in Britain is uncertain because a more unequal society over the last 20 years have been reported. And this had continued during the first four years of the labour government having as many as one child in six in Britain shows a life I poverty (Gladstone, 1973).


Responsibilities should be given to the people in general and the government as well. To live without an effort justifies poverty among the cases prevailed. Unemployment, low income and other factors primarily point out to the recognition of people’s capabilities in maintaining a sustainable life and competing through the emergence of labour development among countries and its government. However, government is also responsible in the sense of backing up its people to achieve welfare and lessen poverty.

An individual has the responsibilities of working hard and exert effort to avoid poverty and obtain the necessities of life. Poverty as well accounts for the consideration of children and thus they are the ones who are primarily affected with the given circumstances. This can be prevented through working hard and attaining a higher degree of learning to be used in a competitive society. Thus, unemployment rate can be decreased and apparently result to cure poverty issues (Banks et al., 2003).

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Gladstone, D. (1973). “Book review Department: The Evolution of the British Welfare State by Derek Fraser”, International Social Work, Macmillan, 16; 59.

Brady, D. (2003). “The Politics of Poverty: Left Political Institutions, the Welfare State, and Poverty”, Social Forces, Vol. 82, No. 2, pp. 557-588.

Banks, J., Blundell, R. & Smith, J.P. (2003). “Understanding Differences in Household Financial Wealth between the United States and Great Britain”, The Journal of Human Resources, Vol. 38, No. 2, Special Issue on Cross-National Comparative Research Using Panel Surveys, pp. 241-279.

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