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Gap between public and expert views of poverty

  • 18/11/2016
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New research finds big differences


New research by the FrameWorks Institute, in partnership with the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) and the National Children’s Bureau, has found a large gap between the public’s definition of what poverty is and the expert view.

At today’s Talking about poverty event, the charities are aiming to identify the gaps and overlaps between public and expert understanding to suggest better ways of communicating about UK poverty.

Some of the striking differences the research revealed include: experts define poverty as being relative and see the benefits system as insufficient, whereas the public view poverty as absolute deprivation and see the benefits system as full of abuse.

Another large difference was on cause of poverty; with experts seeing the roots as the failure of social systems and economic structures, while the public thinks of flaws in individuals or groups.

However, experts and the public do have some views in common and the charities argue that these can be used to build public support for evidence-based solutions to UK poverty.

Both groups:

  • See that society has a fundamental obligation to provide for people’s basic needs

  • Recognise that there are not equal opportunities for everyone

  • See that improvements in education, job training and housing provision are key measures for addressing poverty.

You can follow the discussion on Twitter with the #Talkingaboutpoverty


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