Oxfam paper on UK poverty: ‘The Perfect Storm’

In June 2012, Oxfam published a paper called ‘The Perfect Storm: Economic stagnation, the rising cost of living, public spending cuts, and the impact on UK poverty’.

The UK is facing a set of serious, interlocking challenges. The economy is stagnating, unemployment is increasing, prices are rising, incomes are falling, and spending on public services is being cut back rapidly.

In this paper, Oxfam has taken its experience of working with partner organisations across the UK and the stories of individuals with whom those partners work, together with a wider analysis, to outline the reality of these challenges for people living in poverty.

The paper argues that:

The aftermath of recession is seeing economic stagnation, falling real incomes, and public service cuts all hitting people living in poverty the hardest. The combined impact of all of these factors adds up to a Perfect Storm that is pushing people’s livelihoods to breaking point.

The crisis we are in could be an opportunity to change thinking about what a fair society looks like, and to build the foundations for overcoming poverty once and for all. We need urgent action right now to reinvigorate both the economy and the social safety-net on which most of us ultimately rely. But we also need to do so in a way that sets us on the road to a fair, productive, and sustainable society.

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