• Poverty and its impact on parenting in the UK: Re-defining the critical nature of the relationship through examining lived experiences in times of austerity

      Rose, W.; McAuley, Colette (2019)
      Current political rhetoric and some media commentaries suggest there is a yawning gap of understanding between policymakers and the reality of families living in poverty in 21st century Britain. A key reason identified for the disconnect between policymakers and families is the absence of the voices of the families in public discourse. In this paper accounts of the lived experiences of parents in poverty are examined in four UK qualitative studies published in the period 1998-2016. Their accounts highlight how problems of disadvantage can be cumulative, compounding and enduring. The struggle to provide the basics of family life and the role of supportive communities and relationships are explored. The impact on parents of financial stress, the sense of shame and stigma often experienced and the consequences for their physical and mental health are highlighted. Under the government’s austerity policy, there is an increase in poverty even in working families, an increase in homelessness and considerable evidence emerging on the damaging consequences of food and fuel poverty on the health of children and parents. Listening to the lived realities of individual families provides a much greater understanding of family poverty and its causes and consequences, provides a corrective to the critical pejorative rhetoric and lays the foundation for the provision of appropriate government support.