2018/09/17: We can judge the moral fibre of a society by how it treats its least well-off members.
That sounds like a reasonably straightforward idea. But knowing who the poorest people are is not as easy as it sounds. The traditional measure of poverty in the UK has been to consider a household as being in relative poverty if its income is below 60 per cent of the median household income after housing costs.
by counting assets and assessing people’s real needs more effectively around two and a half million people who were in the old poverty measure - in particular many pensioners with assets - are no longer counted as poor. These are replaced by a different set of people - mostly people with disabilities and families with children.
While the overall figures have remained broadly the same, this paints a different picture for UK society.
Statisticians hope that their new measure can command a political consensus so we can at least agree who the poorest are.