Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Quick thought

Saw this on the BBC and had a thought.

The plans include a Child Poverty Bill, which Ms Sturgeon said was arguably the government's most important legislation.
The bill would establish Scotland as the only part of the UK with statutory income targets on child poverty, and see a "baby box" given to every newborn.

As we know, the concept of poverty in the UK in a historical fashion is basically meaningless. Even the poorest have food to eat and a roof over their heads, and I seem to recall reading that just being on the dole puts you in the top 2% globally as far as incomes go. Hence, no real poverty. What we do have is some level of inequality. Personally, I think this is less of an issue than poverty, but some seem to disagree.

So, if all of the recent talk of child poverty is actually measuring inequality then there's a good chance that Scotland becoming independent would at a stroke reduce child poverty more than any amount of government spending. We know that London is economically over indexed within the UK - everything costs more there and wages are higher to compensate. As a result, comparing two people (one in London, one not) with the same spending power after rent, bills, etc could still look as if their was a big discrepancy (as the Londoner will have higher salary, higher rent, higher bills). Thus there will always be a problem with relative poverty as long as we measure total income and not disposable income.

Hence, remove London from the equation and things look better for everyone. Removing the rest of the UK as well may be a slightly extreme way to do it, but I'm sure it would have a big impact on the child poverty measure being used, hence the child poverty bill could reasonably call for a new referendum.

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