For many years, Oxfam has been running a programme in the UK (Oxfam America and Oxfam Australia, among others, also run domestic programmes). The UK work focuses on the rights of vulnerable workers, living standards, women’s poverty, influencing public attitudes to poverty and building strong and diverse communities.
Here’s the UK Poverty Programm’es latest creation – Fred. Fred epitomises the impact of the recession on poor people in the UK, and the need for a much more poverty-focused response from government. The UK needs a ‘people’s bail out’ that provides not just immediate relief, but builds back better in terms of climate change and equity. The main asks to the UK government are:
• Make the tax system more progressive, including by increasing the threshold at which income tax is paid and lowering tax and benefit tapers.
• Invest in infrastructure, including a comprehensive energy efficiency programme, an expansion of free, high quality childcare and social care and a social house building programme.
• Introduce an emergency increase in out-of-work benefits and tax credits.
• Put further welfare reform on hold, and renew the welfare state so it becomes a genuine safety net for all.
• Effectively enforce existing employment rights.
• Set a maximum level of interest and widen eligibility for social fund hardship loans
• Give more help to struggling homeowners and private tenants.
• Redouble government’s commitment to equality, anti-discrimination and community cohesion.
For more on Fred, see here, or read the background paper. ‘UK poverty and the economic downturn’.