We need child poverty: making sense of public attitudes to poverty in the age of austerity

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


On the 27th January 2015, Stuart Broad, the England international cricketer, provoked a public backlash when he tweeted a comment that appeared to suggest that those earning the Minimum Wage in England should ‘stay humble’ as they were among the top 10% earners in the world. As this example suggests, making sense of poverty is less straightforward than we might expect. Making sense of attitudes toward poverty is equally complex. Although the vast majority of adults believe that it is “important” to tackle child poverty, other commonly-held beliefs tend to suggest that child poverty is accepted as inevitable or necessary by many, and even valued by some as means to achieve ends that are perceived more pressing. In this chapter, it is contended that public attitudes toward child poverty matter. Having asserted the importance of paying attention to what people think, the nature of contemporary attitudes toward child poverty is explored. Specific attention is paid to whether attitudes have shifted in the age of austerity and indeed, whether they might shift in the years’ ahead as the capacity of local government to ameliorate the impact of child poverty reduces in a risk-shift away from the State.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNeo-Liberalism and Austerity The Moral Economies of Young People’s Health and Well-being
EditorsPeter Kelly, Jo Pike
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)9781137582652
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2016


  • poverty
  • public perception
  • child poverty
  • austerity
  • welfare reform


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