Iain Duncan Smith

'Poor need minimum wage rise'

An increase in the minimum wage is required to protect low-income workers from benefit cuts and a lack of jobs, a charity has said.

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Oxfam to help Syrian families through 'brutal' winter

Families have arrived exhausted and traumatised. Some have faced bombs and bullets to get here.

Now, they are trying to get through one of the most brutal winters in the last two decades with almost nothing. Most families have to rely on the generosity of relatives and neighbours.

Along with local organisations Oxfam is trying to help thousands of families through this difficult winter period; but we could do so much more if we had more funds.

– Oxfam's Syria crisis response manager Francis Lacasse

People wanting to donate to Oxfam's Syria appeal can donate by calling 0300 200 1999 or by visiting the charity's website.

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Oxfam launches £12m appeal to help Syrian refugees

Oxfam is launching a £12 million emergency appeal to help thousands of Syrian refugees. The charity says a growing number of families are in desperate need of assistance during the winter.

A man walks in front of a burning building after a Syrian Air force air strike in the Ain Tarma neighbourhood of Damascus. Credit: REUTERS/Mohammed Abdullah

It is hoped the appeal could help up to 120,000 people who have fled violence in Syria and crossed the borders into neighbouring countries.

People wanting to donate to Oxfam's Syria appeal can donate by calling 0300 200 1999 or by visiting the charity's website.

Oxfam: 'Wealth for a few leaves many struggling'

Barbara Stocking, Oxfam's chief executive, said a "global new deal" was needed to reverse decades of increasing inequality.

We can no longer pretend that the creation of wealth for a few will inevitably benefit the many - too often the reverse is true.

Concentration of resources in the hands of the top 1% depresses economic activity and makes life harder for everyone else - particularly those at the bottom of the economic ladder.

In a world where even basic resources such as land and water are increasingly scarce, we cannot afford to concentrate assets in the hands of a few and leave the many to struggle over what's left.

– Barbara Stocking, Oxfam's chief executive

World's 100 richest people could 'end extreme poverty'

The world's richest 100 people earned enough last year to end extreme poverty for the planet's poorest people four times over, Oxfam said.

An "explosion in extreme wealth" was hindering efforts to tackle poverty, the charity said in a briefing released ahead of next week's World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Oxfam said the net income last year of the 100 richest people was 240 billion US dollars (£150 billion) in its report.

The briefing, called Releasing The Cost Of Inequality: How Wealth And Income Extremes Hurt Us All, noted that people in "extreme poverty" live on less than 1.25 US dollars (78p) per day. The charity called on world leaders to commit to reducing inequality to levels last seen in 1990.

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Eurozone break-up 'would hit aid'

The break-up of the eurozone could cost the world's poorest countries nearly £20 billion a year in lost trade and investment - the equivalent of almost a quarter of global aid - Oxfam warned.

As leaders of the world's biggest economies prepare to meet at the G20 summit in Mexico, the aid charity warned that the woes of the single currency threaten the living standards of people well beyond the shores of Europe.

The eurozone crisis is set to dominate next week's G20 gathering, but Oxfam chief executive Barbara Stocking urged the leaders - including David Cameron - not to forget the needs of the world's poorest countries.

TUC: 'Government cuts are putting children back into poverty'

The TUC general secretary Brendan Barber has said the Department of Work and Pension's figures published today show that the previous government's investments made a "huge difference to reducing child and pensioner poverty". But Mr Barber also said:

There is a real danger that the vital headway the last government made into getting children out of poverty will now go into reverse.

Moving the goalposts on what constitutes poverty won't help improve conditions for children living below the breadline. Spending on tax credits and benefits took children out of poverty - now government cuts are sending them straight back.

IFS: Government has an 8-year target to tackle child poverty

Researchers Paul Johnson, Robert Joyce and David Phillips from the Institute for Fiscal Studies have responded to today's Household Below Average Income figures published by the Department for Work and Pensions.

The IFS wrote that the previous government's relative child poverty target for 2010-11 had been missed, despite large reductions in the measure of child poverty since 1998-99. They also wrote:

The government has re-stated its commitment to the 2020-21 income-based child poverty targets that it inherited (and had voted for).

This leaves the government in the position of having a target looming in just eight years, without policies which are likely to transform the distribution of income anywhere near radically enough over that kind of timescale.

Child Poverty Action Group: New plans will indicate if 'we're all in it together'

The chief executive of the Child Poverty Action Group has said today that the Department of Work and Pension's plans to change the way relative income poverty is measured is the "single best indicator of whether 'we are all in it together'". Alison Garnham responded to the report:

Families and children have been made the main target of the coalition's austerity agenda and experts now predict child poverty will rise dramatically.

If we side-line income poverty it will backfire and we will see an increase in problems like debt, family breakdown, poor health and addiction.

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