One of the things that David Cameron made a huge fuss about in his conference speech was the “poverty trap” that makes it difficult for some people to benefit financially from coming off benefits and going to work.
I have given my reaction to this part of his speech here.
The poverty trap is a long standing economic conundrum. It is so well known that it appears on the A level economics syllabus – which is why I found it distasteful that David Cameron should act “shocked and surprised”.
It is a good deal easier to identify the problem than it is to solve it.
This recent article in the Independent indicates some of the complexity of the problem.
I was delighted to read this item from David Kidney, about measures which came into force this October. These show that the government has actually arrived at a real practical solution to at least part of the problem. It shows that by a fairly complex interaction between benefits, child benefit, tax credit, and housing benefit it is possible to give targeted help to people who perhaps most need the encouragement to make the jump back into work.
What has surprised me is that so far I have seen no coverage of this in the press or on the bbc.
Am I to draw the conclusion that something is news if David Cameron says it is a problem, but not news at all if a real solution is put in place?