In 2000, a BBC News report says that there are 100,000 elderly who live in poverty in the United Kingdom between 1998 and 1999. Consequently, the report also states that fewer children live in poverty at present. ("Poverty Spreads") Similarly, the results of the study conducted by the European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research in 2006 shows that among the 25 European Union Member states, United Kingdom is one of the identified countries with the highest risk for elderly population. Along with countries such as Cyprus, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, and Greece, the UK ranks first with the largest number of poor elderly. (Zaidi 2006)
Due to this reports concerning poverty among the elderly in the United Kingdom, it is deemed necessary to look at the relationship of both areas of social policy. The steady huge increase on the number of the elderly who are experiencing poverty in the UK is a social issue that need not be overlooked.
Poverty is defined in a variety of ways. In Piachaud's argument, the definition of poverty is a moral question such that it refers to hardship that is unacceptable. ("An Introduction") Since man's hardship is usually associated with his attitude towards it, how he is able to adapt to this condition, the term becomes a moral issue that leads to poverty being one as well.
Poverty can have as many references as possible. However, the most common ones are those that pertain to man's material conditions, economic position, and social position. Material conditions refer to the goods and services that man needs, the multiple deprivation of which, or a low standard of living. Moreover, economic position is associated with the low income (which is dictated by the society), limited resources, inequality, or low social class where man belongs. Man's social position refers to those who are poor - that is having lack of entitlement, dependency or social exclusion. ("An Introduction")
Analysis of the Elderly in Poverty in the United Kingdom
Welfare state had been a major concern in the United Kingdom during the early years of civilisation. Poverty, which is one of the major and the dominant issue in the society, was the first concern of the government's social policy.
Addressing the poverty that the country was experiencing in 1800s, Prime Minister Earl Grey set up a Poor Law Commission in 1833 in order to examine the poor Law system in Britain. In 1834, when the report was published, several recommendations for the Parliament that would address the issues of poverty in the society. Thus, the Poor Law Amendment Act was passed and provided restrictions for the members of the society in order to eliminate poverty. These statements of the act were the following:
(a) no able-bodied person was to receive money or other help from the Poor Law authorities except in a workhouse;
(b) conditions in workhouses were to be made very harsh to discourage people from wanting to receive help;
(c) workhouses were to be built in every parish or, if parishes were too small, in unions of parishes;
(d) ratepayers in each parish or union had to elect a Board of Guardians to supervise the workhouse, to collect the Poor Rate and to send reports to the Central Poor Law Commission;
(e) the three man Central Poor Law