The UK government’s Department for Work and Pensions has agreed to the creation of new experimental poverty statistics based upon the Social Metrics Commission (SMC) new poverty metric (PDF) which takes into account factors such as assets and 'inescapable costs' that can affect people's spending power.
The announcement came just in advance of a report from the UN Special Rapporteur which recommended the government adopt the Social Metrics Commission measure of poverty.
The RSS’s executive director, Hetan Shah, was a member of the commission that helped to formulate the new poverty measure. At the time he wrote a piece in City AM to explain why a new measure was necessary.
‘This is a very positive step,’ Hetan said about the recent announcement. ‘Our measure takes assets into account, and is more effective at assessing needs. As a result, fewer pensioners are categorised as poor under our measure than in traditional indicators, whilst many more disabled people and families with children are captured by our poverty metric.
'I hope that the adoption of the metric by the DWP will help policymakers focus their resources and interventions more effectively in order to end the scourge of poverty in the UK.’