The Lone Parent Trap

When Jen Smith’s employer went bust she lost control of a life she had spent 20 years building. It took only a few years for life to unravel. In three years Jen got just four interviews and no job. Soon she had to remortgage the one-bedroom flat she shares with her daughter.

Children: the deserving poor?

‘If there’s anything extra to buy such as a pair of boots for one of the children … me and the children goes without dinner.’ So says a working class woman from York interviewed for Benjamin Seebohm Rowntree’s painstaking study of poverty in late nineteenth century Britain. When conducting his research between 1898 and 1901, Rowntree was alarmed at what he found: This suffering may be all but voiceless, and we may long remain ignorant of its extent and severity, but when once we realise it we see that social questions of profound importance await solution. Yet, over a century…