This lacks both financial and social resources, including

This assignment will explore mainly on the experience of
poverty, and its relationship with social inequality. It will also look at the
major causes of poverty in the UK whilst using different theoretical
explanations to elaborate on it. In addition to that, this assignment, will
also attempt to explore on all the roles social work has in addressing poverty
with relevant examples. According to Pierson and Thomas (1995), Poverty can be seen
as a condition whereby an individual lacks both financial and social resources,
including the basic essentials to enjoy the standards of life. It is also a
condition in which people are excluded from participating in the society,
because they lack the serious social resources that are measured to be
acceptable in the society (Pearson and Thomas 1995). But in my own
understanding, I believe that poverty is a situation whereby an individual is
extremely poor, and cannot financially meet up with their basic needs.They are different types of poverty, and they include the
relative poverty, and absolute poverty. Absolute poverty refers to a serious condition whereby an
individual cannot afford the basic life essentials that is needed to sustain
physical life, such as food, clothing, and shelter. People living in absolute
poverty, experience complete destitution whereby they cannot afford to provide
common food for their families, no sanitation facilities, and they also have no
access to education and information {Yuill and Gibson 2011). Relative poverty
on the other hand, is the lack of resources to obtain some certain minimum
standard of living that is encouraged and acceptable in a particular society. For
instance, an individual may be living a comfortable life with regular income to
look after the family, but if they do not own a computer in their home just
like everyone else in the society, they will be classified as poor and living
in relative poverty. And it can be argued that poverty is a symptom of social
inequality, because if access to goods and resources are distributed equally
and evenly to everyone, Poverty will be reduced in society. Crossman (2016) defined inequality  as the existence of unequal opportunities in
the society , unequal treatment between people that have come from different
class, it is a situation whereby good resources are been distributed unevenly
to people especially those who have claimed to be among the working and upper
class category. Access to goods and the rights of individuals are unfairly
distributed, leaving those from the lower class with nothing.  The concept of equality of opportunity is a
very significant topic in the UK because; the level of unequal opportunities is
relatively high. (GOV.UK)Some statistics have however, showed that approximately
32.5% of the UK population have at least experienced poverty compared to the
rest of the population between 2011 and 2014 (Office of National Statistics,
2016) in 2013, The percentage of people in persistent income poverty in the UK
was 7.8%, equivalent to 4.6 million people. Siddique (2015) argued that
individuals who have already experiences poverty, are more likely to experience
poverty again, compared to those who have never been in Poverty. People who are
more at risk of being in poverty, include Lone parents for whom 60% are poor,
the unemployed, people who are disabled, and young teenagers who left school at
the age of 16 (Pearson and Thomas 1995). Been poor and living on low income is
a major source of stress, it has strong association with Metal health problem,
family problems, ill health or even child abuse. Nevertheless, these are
potential reasons why Social Workers need to ensure that these individuals are
supported on how to improve their lives and standards of living.  Social workers’ working with different
agencies ensures that everyone has equal opportunities, and also become
productive members of the society.  Resources such as income, wealth, education, health and housing
are distributed unevenly among different groups, making it a global phenomenon,
where people are treated differently due to their social classification. People
who are from the minority and low class groups tend to suffer more in Poverty,
compared to those from the higher class.  According to the statistics carried out by
Gov.uk, people   from ethnic minority backgrounds frequently
experience poorer health and have lower life expectancy compared to the rest of
the population. For instance, within the UK, people from ethnic minorities are on average, more likely to live in
low-income families than White people.  Almost half of all children from
ethnic minorities live in low-income households compared to a quarter of White
British children (Poverty site, 2016).The UK has a culturally diverse population with ethnic minorities,
accounting for almost 8% of the population in the 2001 census which represented
an increase in the percentage of ethic members in the society by approximately
50%. Nonetheless, the largest ethnic minority group are Indians followed by
Pakistanis, mixed ethnic backgrounds; black Caribbean’s, black Africans and
Bangladesh. And the level of illness and health varies a lot among these groups
(Platt, 2007).  According to the England
survey (2014), Black and minority ethnic groups as a whole are more likely to
report ill health, which starts at a very young age; they are also more likely
to be diagnosed with mental health issues, compared to others. The health
surveys of England provide some detailed evidence of ethnic variation in
health. This is due to in part to the large numbers of patients involved but
also because they also take biomedical samples for analysis. According to this
survey all South Asian groups showed higher rates for most conditions compared
to the general population. Chinese men and women had lower prevalence for
almost all conditions except diabetes. And Compared to the white ethnic group,
people of Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Caribbean origin were more likely to
report poor health. (Platt, 2007)The unemployment
rate between these ethnic groups are very drastic, for instance, the employment
rate among white people was 4.9% from April 2015 and March 2015, while the
unemployment rate among people from ethnic backgrounds was higher with 10.2%. All
Minority ethnic groups in the UK are likely not to be in employment than whites
especially those under the age of 25 (Inman 2014) below is a chat, showing the
rate of unemployment between different ethnic groups. According to the chat above, people, we can clearly see that
people from the minority group are mostly  unemployed, compared to the white group, and
for this reason they tend to live in poverty, which is as a result of living on
very low income. Some of these individuals have the necessary skills to go into
employment, but the opportunity to show and share their knowledge and ability
is limited.  (Yuill and Gibson 2011)Below is another chat estimating the proportion of people
living in low income households, with different ethnic groups. The bar chat shows that, over 70% of Bangladesh are living
in low income, 65% form Pakistan, 55% from Black African, 40% from Black
Caribbean, 33% for Indian and below 30% of white. (Poverty site 2016). However,
a high poverty rate of a particular group. Ethnic differences in the health and
wellbeing of an individual vary in the age group and also between men and
Women, as well as between geographical areas. For instance Men that are born in
South Asia are mostly 50% more likely to have a heart attack compared to men in
the broad-spectrum population. In addition, men born in the Caribbean are 50%
more likely to die of stroke compared to the general Caribbean population.Another group of individuals that is likely to be in poverty
are the people with disability. They are vulnerable adults and children, with
different additional needs and support in the society, and large institutions. These
individuals are likely to be on low minimum wage, difficulties in accessing
public transport, and also very likely to be without paid employed that could
at least help them to have the normal standard of living.  For this reason, they are mostly at risk of
living in poverty compared to people without disability (Holman 1978)Individuals with disability, face extra cost every day,
compared to the rest of the people who do not require additional support in
their daily lives. This is because; they need to manage their impairments
financially. For instance, paying for their social services, reconstructing
their homes for adaption; they need to buy wheelchairs, mobility communication
aids, and other necessary equipment.Statistics have showed that families with at least one
disabled member are 21% more likely to live in poverty compared to those
without disabilities in 2009 (GOV.UK 2014). 
In 2012, it was mentioned that only 46.3% of working age disabled people
are in employment, while the rest of the working age, non-disabled people in
employment was 76.4%. Subsequently this has reduced by 10% over the years,
because a lot of disabled individuals are now in employment compared to the
previous years (GOV.UK, 2014). Furthermore, social inequalities in our society cannot be
over emphasised, because it affected the whole population as a whole in one way
or the other, with many controversies about the unfairness of the society. Most
members of the higher social class are living healthier, and longer, compared
to those who fall under the lower social group, people from lower social group
are most likely to get inadequate diets, poor quality of housing, and other
material disadvantages which could affect their health and wellbeing (Dowling,
1999).  According to the black report,
the middle class and upper class people have better standards of living, and
quality of life, than the lower class people. However, people from the lower
class suffer from more illness than those in the higher class, because they are
unemployed with no possible income, which in other words is been classified as
living in abstract poverty. (Dowling 1999) Theoretical
explanations of poverty. Different theories have been used to elaborate on the issue
of poverty in our society, for instance, the Functionalist perspective which
was introduced by Emile Durkheim, affirms that every part of the society has
its function, and for this reason, they all have to work differently to ensure
stability and the effectiveness of the society as a while. Functionalist
described this, by linking it with the human body which has different parts to
function well, and without the various contributions it will not function
effectively. So therefore they believed that Poverty is present in our society
for a reason, and without poverty the society will not function well. I quite
agree with this theory because I believe that things happen for a reason,
including poverty. For instance it encourages people to work harder, in other
to achieve some certain gaols and living minimum standard of life that is known
to be acceptable in the society. This theory also, implies that the likelihood
of living in poverty depends on the structure of the families. For instance
looking at Single parents in our society, their children are likely to live in
poverty if preventive measures are not put in place. Since 2013, 46% of
children from single-parent households live in relative poverty, with 41% of
single-parent families earning less than 60% of the UK average (Welfare weekly
2016). However,  Functionalist have failed
to access poverty holistically, in the sense that not all single families are
living in poverty, some married couples are also raising their kids in poverty.
Marxist theory on the other hand, argued that the main cause of poverty is the
uneven distribution of wealth and income in society; they believed that a
society that encourages inequality is likely to have poverty. Marxist theory is
based on around capitalism where people who are classified to be poor remain in
the same position, because, it favours individuals who are known to be form the
upper class, while the functionalist theory is certain that poverty can be
eradicated if an individual works hard. Marxism argues that Poverty is
inevitable under capitalism (Peet 1974) Essentially, I do not agree with this
theory, because for it to become a fairer society, the poor would not want to
remain poor, according to Functionalist perspective, people from the lower
class will ensure they work hard so as to avoid being the workforce that
accepts low wages. In addition, Marxist, have concluded that until the society
is balanced, Poverty will always be in existence, the rich will be richer, while
the poor will remain poor. However, if inequality is evicted in the society,
everyone will be treated equally, and poverty will be evicted.Poverty is not only caused by individual circumstance or
lack of capacity, as assumed by the general public (Barker 2016) it can also be
triggered by work and income. This is because a lot of people who has the
capacity and skills to work, do not have the opportunity to contribute to the
society, and by not been employed they live on very low income wage, therefore
finding it difficult to financially provide for their families.  Another significant effect of being on low
income, is the inability to afford good housing, and living in Poor housing can
negatively affect the health  and
wellbeing of an individual (World health organisation 2010).To reduce poverty, so
many polices which have been very effective have been put in place to help
improve society. These policies are actions that affect the wellbeing of
individuals, they respond to basic human needs which include housing,
healthcare, and employment. Using different means they generate the most
effective ways to ensure they respond to all the needs. These welfare policies,
mostly focuses on the programmes and policies which only provides income
assistance and social services to the people in need, it reduces the rate of
inequality and poverty,  therefore giving
out a better living standard to individuals on low incomes, and contribute to a
more cohesive society (Pierson and Thomas 1995). For instance to reduce
poverty, additional employment assistance has been put in place specifically
for those who are unemployed, they ensure that every individual who fall under
the working age, and has the capacity to work, gets the opportunity to be in
employment. The Child poverty strategy has also been set out by the Government
in April 2011, and the major aim is to tackle poverty, minimise socio-economic
advantage, guaranteeing fairness and also proving support to vulnerable
individuals (GOV.UK 2015).   In addition, a better targeted benefits was introduced to
help tackle poverty in our society, the new scheme was aimed at the disabled
individuals, lone parents and also jobseekers. The programme has appeared to be
very successful in the reduction of poverty form 1999-2008 over 1.8 million
jobs, where 500,000 of these were lone parents and disabled individuals that
are in employment, and earning at least a minimum wage, including an additional
Tax credit which will be added to their income. This will however, help them to
have the normal standard of living that is known to be acceptable in the
society (Politics and Welfare 2012). The major critique of these benefits is
that, some people who are already in low paid employment might have an
incentive to stop working so as to get free benefits from the Government.  But to stabilize this, the Government have ensured
that every individual eligible for Benefits, must provide a document to show,
that they are actively seeking for employment. Another significant policy that was added to the provision
of employment was the National minimum wage, which was introduced in April
1999. These wages are hourly rates that are paid to working age individuals
already in employment, they are been renewed yearly by the Low Pay Commission,
which have significantly helped in reducing Poverty (Norgrove 2012).  Social workers in general also play a very significant role
in Poverty, as they work with different individuals from, different walks of
life, especially those who have been socially deprived in the society. Social
Workers are always positive, when it comes to issues that are affecting the
health and wellbeing of an individual. Despite the inequality that exists,
Social workers still have the responsibility to individualise care for their
socially deprived clients (Holman 1978), they inform clients of their entitlements
to certain welfare benefits, which are available and applicable to them. Social
services are frequently aware of agencies, information and polices that can
meet to the needs of their clients. Additionally, when working with clients that are socially
deprived, Social workers could discuss the causes of their condition with good
and effective communication skills, so as to clarify the issue with the person
they are supporting, to understand their situation and also to change their
behaviours. Most importantly, clients should not be denied the full support,
they deserve, and their needs should be assessed holistically, so as to modify
their financial condition. Lastly, in poverty, Social Workers have the role of
ensuring that resources and
opportunities along with individual capacities develop, because they are all
necessary for effective poverty eradication.In conclusion, this essay have discussed the experience of
poverty in general, and also looked at the major causes of poverty, using
different theories to explain them, and most especially linked it relationship
with Social Work. Nonetheless I believe that the level of social inequalities
in the society has not been beneficial in any way because, the rich are getting
richer while the poor are getting poorer, and these have however, made the
society not to develop as it should. Government intervention on additional
benefits, improved affordability of community services and increase in minimum
wage, are further means of ensuring that Poverty is eradicated (Holman, 1978).