Student Name Qasim Hussain
Student ID Number 20310078
Name of School Arts and Society
Course Title Foundation Year BA *Honours) Social Science et al
Module No & Title UC00008 – A World In Crisis? Introduction to Social Science
Tutor Danijela Bogdanovic and Julie Gunn
Assignment Title What are the advantages of including those experiencing poverty in the discourse around poverty? Written Essay
Due Date Wednesday 19th December 2018
Word Count/Equivalent 1000 equivalent +/- 10%
This essay will talk about the advantages of including the voices of those experiencing poverty within the discourse concerning poverty. The article will be reviewed in three paragraphs. First shows account of the Former Soldier as well as the UN Rapporteur. The second states views of UK government and representatives. The third paragraph has views of an expert from the UN on Human Rights. Statistics plus facts from the Trussell Trust and the Joseph Rountree Foundation deputy director will be included. Finally, the views of the University professor and the essay will be summarised in the conclusion.
The Article on the UN report first talks about the impoverished disabled former soldier Alexander Tiffin who is contributing to a UN Investigation on Poverty within the UK. The article states that he is so poor that he lost 16kg (2st 7lb) due to lack of food. (Booth, 2018) (Ohchr.org, 2018) This clearly shows that he is in absolute poverty where he is struggling to acquire enough money for food to feed himself and as a result starving. (Bbc.co.uk, 2018) This is a good example of why poor people need to be included in poverty discourse so that their grievances will be heard and wont be ignored like here. Within the article the UN rapporteur talks about compiling a together the most significant human rights violations from those experiencing from both poverty and extreme poverty. A large collection of accounts of serious human rights violations from both victims of relative and absolute poverty are being selected. This will give him a large consensus strong evidence with which he can raise awareness on the issue of poverty within the UK. Also, through highlighting contentious government policies such as Austerity and its impacts on public services. Universal Credit and Brexit and how do they link to the issue of UK poverty etc. Furthermore, by bringing in the opinions of influential groups such as academics, think tanks and charities etc. he aims to strengthen his argument by building a large consensus of strong opinions. He defines extreme poverty as lack of income, lack of access to basic services and social exclusion. This suggests that especially in the UK that factors such as Social exclusion contribute towards both relative and absolute poverty. (A Hite and L Seitz, 2016) (Lines, 2008) Utilising all these tools (Poverty Accounts, Government Policies and Influential opinions) he can effectively create political controversy by putting pressure to the government in the hopes of forcing them to change their actions.
In the article, the government talks about poverty statistics stating that income has never been higher from households and that there are 1 million fewer people living in poverty in 2010 and including 300,000 children. The government has clearly been successful in improving the standard of living for the impoverished especially children which is good because of how vulnerable they are. This shows that the UK has been attempting to try to take the right steps to improve the lives of its citizens. (GOV.UK, 2018) Next, the head of the Universal Credit policy says, Universal Credit is one of the most effective poverty-fighting tools in existence and hundreds of thousands more people will have a job as a result. This advocates that Universal Credit which is created by a Conservative, Right wing think tank The Centre for Social Justice created by Ian Duncan Smith (Conservative) will help tackle poverty and provide jobs which is excellent if that was the case. However, the opposite regrettably appears to be true according to documentaries and videos that imply otherwise. (Bbc.co.uk, 2018) (Bbc.co.uk, 2018) Plus, this is further reinforced by the fact that the think-tank didnt make a comment which also heightens suspicion of the honesty of the incumbent government towards Universal Credit.
In the text with the quote from a HRW (Human Rights Watch) Researcher Kartik Raj, he says first says that there is a lot of hunger that goes under the radar. This implies that he believes lots of poor people try to conceal their poverty for fear of stigmatisation and isolation from their local community which is very troubling considering. He then goes on to quote that People have a right to food and an adequate standard of living. These are Human rights the government is obligated to ensure under the international treaties it has signed. As the Researcher stated it is a human right for necessities to be provided to individuals especially poverty-stricken people in the United Kingdom as per the UN Laws as a signatory state. (GOV.UK, 2018) This means UK as the fifth largest economy in the world must make sure it is ensuring are safe from poverty. The Trussell Trust (an organisation that runs food banks) found that foodbank usage increased in areas where Universal Credit was implemented by 52% compared to 14% in areas that hadnt showing a strong correlation between Universal Credit and Increased poverty. (Trusselltrust.org, 2018) Chris Goulden who is a deputy director of the JRF quotes regarding Destitution that it affects your ability to maintain a decent life as well as influencing psychological and physical health along with opportunities for you and your children within the future which shows how destitution can be very dangerous in many ways to those impoverished. This is a scary prospect considering the increasing number of people who become destitute based off the Joseph Rountree Foundation who say 1.5 million people fell into destitution last year in places such as Manchester, Liverpool and Middlesbrough. Interestingly, suggesting that those who live in the cities are more at risk of destitution which is increasing within the UK. (JRF, 2018) Finally, Aoife Nolan a Professor of International Human Rights Law at The University of Nottingham in the article talks about Welfare reform and how the rights of children and disabled people are being negatively impacted. She is talking about how the British government has been neglecting to protect the rights of disabled and children as is required of it by law.
To summarise, based off the above statements made in the article, which was written by a relatively unbiased writer, its important that those who suffer from widespread poverty are helped by their local community like in the past. (Bbc.co.uk, 2018) Especially considering in the UK the poor benefit considerably from being included in discussions on Poverty considering the negative effects that measures implemented by the government such as Austerity and Universal Credit have had. In addition, fundamental change is required removing the Stigma attached to poverty in the UK to encourage poor people to free themselves from poverty.
Booth, R. (2018). Evidence to UN highlights extreme poverty in UK. [online] the Guardian. Available at: [Accessed 31 Oct. 2018].
Ohchr.org. (2018). OHCHR | Statement on Visit to the United Kingdom, by Professor Philip Alston, United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights. [online] Available at: [Accessed 21 Nov. 2018].
A Hite, K. and L Seitz, J. (2016). Global Issues: An Introduction. 5th ed. WILEY Blackwell.
Lines, T. (2008). Making poverty. London: Zed Books.
GOV.UK. (2018). Household incomes highest on record. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Dec. 2018].
Bbc.co.uk. (2018). BBC iPlayer – Panorama – The Universal Credit Crisis. [online] Available at: [Accessed 2 Dec. 2018].
Bbc.co.uk. (2018). BBC iPlayer – Professor Green – Living in Poverty. [online] Available at: [Accessed 2 Dec. 2018].
GOV.UK. (2018). UK Treaties. [online] Available at: [Accessed 13 Dec. 2018].
Trusselltrust.org. (2018). [online] Available at: [Accessed 13 Dec. 2018].
JRF. (2018). Over 1.5 million people were destitute in the UK in 2017. [online] Available at: [Accessed 13 Dec. 2018].
Bbc.co.uk. (2018). BBC – History – British History in depth: Poverty in Elizabethan England. [online] Available at: [Accessed 4 Dec. 2018].
Dermott, E. and Main, G. (n.d.). Poverty and social exclusion in the UK.
At least 85, 0. and Snead, F. (2018). At least 85,000 children have died from malnutrition since the start of the civil war in Yemen. [online] inews.co.uk. Available at: [Accessed 4 Dec. 2018].
Social Protection and Human Rights. (2018). Women’s Property and Inheritance Rights in Tanzania – Social Protection and Human Rights. [online] Available at: [Accessed 4 Dec. 2018].