This article reports on the Child Poverty Action Group Early Warning System (EWS), a database of case studies representing social security issues reported directly by frontline benefits advice workers and benefit claimants. It outlines what data from the EWS can tell us about how the social security system is functioning and how it has responded during the pandemic. It further details how insights from the EWS can be used by researchers and policymakers seeking to understand the role of social security in supporting families living on a low income and in advocating for short- and longer-term policy change.
This article examines the specific or sub-sectoral effects of COVID-19 lockdown measures on small business units, thus departing from previous studies which only focused on general effects. Based on qualitative and cross-sectional survey methods, the article depicts a cross-sectoral disparity in the patronage level and income stream of customers of small businesses found on the streets of south-eastern Nigeria. The article identifies the gap in the policy interventions meant to cushion the negative impacts of COVID-19 lockdown and social distancing policies on small businesses. Hence, state policy interventions have not had the cushioning impact on small businesses in south-eastern Nigeria. A pro-poor approach towards the review of the policy interventions is highly imperative.
Calcutta Rescue (CR) is a medium-sized NGO based in Kolkata, India that focuses on supporting the residents of the city’s slums. In 2019, CR launched its first multidimensional poverty survey seeking to understand the degree to which, and in what ways, the populations they work with were deprived. It was hoped that this would also contribute to the measurement of the impact of their interventions. This piece introduces and discusses the composition of the survey and the data collection method. It then presents some of the results, and discusses how they are informing, and will inform, CR’s work.
The term ‘period poverty’ describes a growing problem among women and girls from low-income households in the UK struggling to afford period products. Drawing on findings from a qualitative study, this article contributes to burgeoning debates with new insights into gendered poverty. Findings illustrate how an inability to afford sanitary wear is experienced as embarrassing, causing considerable distress and anxiety arising from the need to keep menstruation hidden to avoid social disclosure and attendant stigmatisation. The study highlights the need for longitudinal research to investigate wider implications for health inequalities and educational outcomes for girls who are already socio-economically disadvantaged.
This article reports on a participatory, mixed-methods study, of the causes and lived experiences of food insecurity in the context of an unequal city in England. Among families with young children, we find that income and housing tenure are strongly associated with food insecurity and food bank use, and these impacts extend to higher socioeconomic status groups. Higher costs of food, housing and transport associated with life in an unequal context, meant that food formed part of a series of competing pressures on household budgets. We urge future food insecurity research to focus further on these broader socioeconomic drivers of poverty.