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Income and Wealth (Economics A-Level): Working Poverty

Overall discussion question: To what extent should the government prioritize a fairer distribution of income and wealth?

Recommended Reading: You must read and make notes on these articles

CapX article picture

 

In-work poverty is up – is that necessarily a bad thing? (CapX, June 2019)

A deliberately provocative title for an interesting article.

CapX is a news website founded by the Centre for Policy Studies, so is likely to be centre-right to right wing. The Centre for Policy Studies is a Think Tank with historical links to the Conservative party and a poor reputation for funding transparency from Transparify and Who Funds You?. CapX articles are interesting for a firmly free-market perspective, but should be treated with some caution.

[I'm in work but struggling to get by (BBC, June 2019) (from Further Reading, below) provides an alternative perspective if you want to explore this further.]

The gig economy is not intrinsically a bad thing. In fact, it's given many of us a great opportunity (independent, 2019)

Another opinion piece offering a particular perspective, this time from a traditionally Left-Centre source rated high for factual reporting.

 

[Ghost jobs, half lives: how agency workers ‘get by’ in Britain’s shadow economy (Guardian, 2015) (from Further Reading, below) provides an alternative perspective if you want to explore this further.]

Further Reading: You might choose to explore some of these articles

Working poverty

 

Working hard(ship) An exploration of poverty, work and tenure (Resolution Foundation, 2020)

While report itself is very long, the executive summary (12 not very densely printed pages) is a really interesting read.

The Resolution Foundation is a Think Tank which has been accused of being left-leaning and, while it does have people from both ends of the political spectrum in senior positions, it is probably true that it leans more towards the left.

Why has in-work poverty risen in Britain? (Institute for Fiscal Studies, 2019)

This is a detailed academic research report - but the abstract (on the first page) or, if you are feeling really bold, the first 5 pages, provide a useful summary.

 

The Institute for Fiscal Studies is widely regarded, and often quoted in the media, as a reputable source. There are some suggestions that it is left-leaning. It is possibly best described as centre-left.

In-work poverty in the UK:Problem, policy analysis and platform for action (Cardiff University/ Nuffield Foundation, 2017)

An academic research report from Cardiff University, funded by the Nuffield Foundation. The full report is probably too long for it to be worth your time to read, but the executive summary on pages 3-4 is very interesting.

The Nuffield Foundation describes itself as "an independent charitable trust with a mission to advance educational opportunity and social well-being" and has a good reputation as a reputable source. Cardiff University is an academic source.


The Gig Economy

Gig economy in Britain doubles, accounting for 4.7 million workers (Guardian, 2019)

A newspaper report summarizing a study from the TUC and academics at the University of Hertfordshire into the gig economy in the UK.

The Guardian is a left-centre source rated high for factual reporting.

UK government wakes up to downside of gig economy (Reuters, 2017)

A short, factual article on the impact of the gig economy on UK tax revenue.

Reuters is an international multimedia news agency described as 'least biased' source rated very high for factual reporting.

Restricting zero hours contracts won't increase job security (Centre for Policy Studies, 2015)

An article from a right-wing think tank in the run up to the 2015 general election criticising Labour's proposed policy of restricting zero hours contracts. Note both that this source has a strong political bias and is 5 years old.

The Centre for Policy Studies is a Think Tank with historical links to the Conservative party and a poor reputation for funding transparency from Transparify and Who Funds You?. Centre for Policy Studies resources are interesting for a firmly free-market perspective, but should be treated with some caution.

The characteristics of those in the gig economy (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, 2018)

Government report. The full report is probably too long to be useful, but the executive summary on pages 6-8 is interesting.

Government reports are usually regarded as factually accurate but there may be political bias in the presentation of results. This report was prepared under a right wing government.

 

The experiences of individuals in the gig economy (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, 2018)

Government report. The full report is probably too long to be useful, but the executive summary on pages 8-10 is interesting.

Government reports are usually regarded as factually accurate but there may be political bias in the presentation of results. This report was prepared under a right wing government.

Access to Infotrac

InfoTrac Newspaper Collection (password for access from home here) contains the full text of articles from:

  • The Daily (and Sunday) Telegraph
  • The Guardian and Observer
  • The Independent and Independent on Sunday
  • Mail on Sunday
  • The Times and Sunday Times

as well as a range of local papers. This can be useful for finding newspaper articles which are otherwise hidden behind pay walls.

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Access to the Financial Times

myFT logo

The Financial Times offers free access to school students aged 16-19 (and their teachers/Librarians). Sign up for an individual account while you are logged on using a school wi-fi (or wired) connection:

  • Click here.
  • Scroll down to Check if your school is registered for free access to FT.com
  • Type Oakham in the search box
  • Click on Request your signup link in the Oakham School line, and follow the on-screen instructions

Once you have created your account, you can then use these log in details anywhere - in or out of school.

Notemaking and summarising resources

Use this journal to make notes as you read each article. One page per source.

  • First note key ideas and quotes in the left hand column
  • Then reread these and explain how they relate to the inquiry question in the right hand column.
  • Don't forget to comment on the quality of the source.

You should make notes like this on both the Recommended Reading articles for each section. (If you choose to make notes by hand rather than on screen, use a shortened URL in the source description e.g. bbc.co.uk rather than the full URL of the article).


Once you have completed your reading for each area you can start to transfer your ideas to this summary sheet, which you will use as your notes for the Spiderweb discussion. Don't forget to explain the key Economic ideas for each area in the "basic explanation" box on the left hand side of the sheet, and highlight any key vocabulary so that you can make sure you use it in the discussion.

This sheet should be printed double sided on A3.


You may wish to use this sheet to collect a list of technical terms as you progress through this topic. You might find it helpful to have this list to refer to during the discussion.

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