In wanting to change the measure of poverty IDS, the CSJ, Jill Kirby, Neil O’Brien etc etc aren’t tinkering at the edges of some obscure statistical issue. They are invading intellectual territory of the utmost importance. They are saying that the war on poverty can’t be won by a bigger and bigger welfare state. They are saying - among other things - that poverty has to be fought by early intervention, drug rehabilitation, support for the two parent family and a recognition of the superiority of paid work over benefit dependence. They aren’t just trying to change the terms of the poverty debate but the whole terms of political debate. Labour present themselves as the nice party because they are the high-spending party. But what if the nice party isn’t the party that is always ready to increase benefits but is the party that strengthens the family, improves education and cuts unemployment?
I definitely agree with the need a broader - not just financial - definition of poverty.