Targeting benefits at the poorest will not reduce poverty

In an interview with the Guardian, the American sociologist David Brady argues that ‘targeting benefits at the very poorest people won’t effectively reduce poverty’. ‘No affluent democracy has achieved relatively low poverty without robust social policy’, he says.

Brady, the author of Rich Democracies, Poor People: How Politics Explain Poverty (Oxford University Press, 2009) says we need to rebuild trust in a welfare state that everyone feels they benefit from. The problem he sees developing in Britain is similar to the situation that exists in the USA, where welfare is now only for the very poorest people. ‘The more [that] “welfare” is a broad portfolio of social policy to help people across the life span, the more effective it is at reducing poverty.’

The interview can be read on the Guardian website.