Web links for 6th March 2012
The report of the 2011 TUC Poverty Conference, with speakers including Frances O’Grady, Christine Blower, Natascha Engel MP and Owen Jones (author of Chavs).
BBC News Magazine compares benefits now with poor law benefits paid before the “New” poor law of 1834 (which brought in workhouses).
“Lone mothers could receive up to 37% of the income of neighbouring working households” – this compares quite well with the percentage of average incomes they would receive under the modern system, but everyone was poorer, so they were worse off in absolute terms. Pensioners could receive up to 70% of average wages – much higher than the equivalent figure today.
BRC Sales Monitor reports UK retail sales values last month were down 0.3% on a like-for-like basis from February 2011. They comment: “Total sales growth is still below inflation, so overall customers are actually buying less than a year ago, while discounts are eating into margins”
The BCC expects the UK to avoid double-dip recession, but predicts weak growth in 2012. Their 2012 forecast for GDP growth is revised down from 0.8 to 0.6 per cent; they have not changed their 1.3% forecast for 2013. Unemployment expected to rise from 2.67m to 2.90m in Q1 2013.