Family Poverty

  • Keith G. Banting
Part of the Studies in Policy-Making book series (STPM)


The battle over rents had provided a glimpse of the hardship facing poor tenants. But even while the new rent system was being put in place a wider battle was beginning: in December 1965 a major campaign was launched to focus attention on poverty as a general problem, especially among families with children. Family poverty quickly became the leading social issue of the decade, confronting the Labour Government with one of its most difficult social policy decisions. After a protracted and agonised internal struggle, lasting from mid-1966 until early 1968, the Government finally revealed its policy: family allowances would be increased but the increase would be ‘clawed back’ from non-poor families through the tax system. This policy was only a partial response to the problem, and family poverty remains an important social policy issue. But the Labour decision did represent an important innovation because, for the first time, an explicit link was forged between social payments and the tax system; a new principle was legitimated and the way was paved for much broader proposals, such as tax credits, in the next decade. Family poverty and ‘clawback’ both represented critical departures in social policy, and together they form the subject of this chapter.


Social Security Poverty Line Supplementary Benefit Labour Party Social Spending 
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Copyright information

© Keith G. Banting 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Keith G. Banting
    • 1
  1. 1.University of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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