Tavistock Institute research published in JRF:
Personal Relationships and Poverty – JRF Anti-poverty review
An animation, a series of policy briefings and new Tavistock Institute research has been published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation as part of their programme to develop a set of evidence-based, anti-poverty strategies for the UK – in order to answer – how can we reduce poverty in the UK? What are the underlying causes? And what impact do different interventions have?
To find out more watch the animation:
The Tavistock Institute has developed a series of policy briefings aimed at policy-makers and practitioners on what works in reducing poverty in the area of family relationships. The final briefing in the series on Extended Families and Poverty has been published today (10.08.15). These briefings are based on a robust review of policy and evidence commissioned by JRF on the links between personal (predominately family relationships) and poverty, with recommendations on how interventions in this area can reduce poverty.
The review found that policies and family relationships which help reconcile the tension between participation in the labour market and caring responsibilities can reduce the chances of individual and family poverty.
The chances of family poverty are lessened when policies enable fathers’ involvement in childcare and mothers’ involvement in the labour market.
The stress of living in poverty brings added risk of relationship problems and breakdown. Policies underpinning relationship support services are a more effective way to tackle family poverty than marriage subsidies. Relationship support services need to reach families in poverty or on low incomes, especially those with multiple problems.
Separation can lead to poverty for both parents but the risk of persistent poverty is greater for resident parents. Regular child support payments reduce that risk. Step-families can provide a route out of poverty but are vulnerable to breakdown, leading to further spell(s) of poverty. Anti-poverty policies for separated families need to be holistic, address the needs of all family members and promote more involvement of non-resident parents.
Paid employment can increase single mothers’ income but risks being counterproductive without affordable childcare or childcare from other family members.
Grandparents play a vital role in providing free and flexible childcare, frequently enabling low-income mothers to (re-)enter employment. However, caring responsibilities can increase poverty risks for grandmothers who disrupt their own employment. Also, many care for both grandchildren and older parents, at financial cost to themselves. Raising the state retirement pension age risks reducing the supply of grandparents able to provide childcare and in turn increases the poverty risks of low-income mothers without access to affordable alternatives.
Intergenerational support most frequently goes downwards from parents to adult children and grandchildren and occurs more often in families which rely on welfare support for essential services.
Read the first policy briefing in the series here. The second briefing on Parenthood and Poverty can be read here, along with the third briefing on Lone Parents & Poverty here, and the fourth on Family Separation & Poverty here. The final briefing in the series on Extended Families and Poverty can be read here.
Look out for the newsletter summarising the findings from the series on family poverty by following us on Twitter or subscribe to our ‘Personal Relationships and Poverty’ mailing list here.
Read a summary of the key findings from this study:
Personal relationships and poverty
Read the full report:
Personal Relationships and Poverty An Evidence and Policy Review
The research team for this study consisted of Laura Stock, Judy Corlyon, Cristina Castellanos and Matt Gieve at the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations.