From a people-centred perspective, the welfare debate is back to front: the goal must be to build capacity, not simply to reduce budgets, argues Julian Dobson. In January 2013 the Greater Manchester Poverty Commission reported that 600,000 people were living in ‘extreme poverty’ and a further 1.6 million – nearly half the conurbation’s total – were at risk of sliding into poverty. These figures were quickly forgotten by national media, but should give pause for thought. A city where half the population struggles to make ends meet is one where public policy has failed. Neither welfare nor work are enabling enough people to move out of poverty. Incomes and standards of living have not recovered as they did after previous recessions. The Office for National Statistics recently found that net national income – the total income available to citizens – had fallen by 13.2 per cent four years after the … (To read the full article, subscribe below)

Julian Dobson is founder of Urban Pollinators