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Wage supplements: in-work poverty and themes in social security policy for low pay

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2017
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Social Security Law
Issue number1
Volume24
Number of pages15
Pages (from-to)16-30
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

Locating wage supplements in the dilemmas that in-work poverty raises for the state, this paper examines the four main themes that have framed debates about, and the practice of, supplementing wages in Britain since the 1970s. The paper draws upon data from files held at Britain’s National Archives and focuses upon the effect that wage supplements are held to have in incentivising workless people to take paid work; their potential effects on wage levels and familial poverty, and how they have been gendered, primarily through a concern with male breadwinning. The paper demonstrates consistencies and contradictions in wage supplement policy and argues that the cuts to wage supplements, alongside the introduction of a mislabelled ‘national living wage’, announced in the 2015 summer budget should be understood in the competing demands that are made of them.