Poverty, Wealth and Inequality


Poverty and inequality rest at the very core of social policy, underpinning a range of social problems. Exploring poverty, its definition, its extent and its impacts have been the primary focus of endeavours to improve welfare at local, national and global scale. This module will introduce students to definitions and measurements of poverty, and related issues of wealth and inequality. It will explore the impact of poverty and inequality in the UK and the policy responses developed seeking to ameliorate their consequences.

This module will set the “poverty” context exploring definitions, measurements and the political debates around income, wealth and their distribution. It will then explore the historical development of UK social security and income maintenance policies but also explore policy in the contemporary context in relation to high risk groups. Examining issues around poverty, inequality and wealth also requires looking beyond the activities of the state to consider non-state activities tied to community self-help and alternative policies to social security (such as a citizen’s income) to facilitate a critical analysis of UK social security and its effectiveness in tackling poverty.   


  • 3,000 word essay
  • 3 hour exam