Over the decades the definition of poverty has changed, from meaning someone not having very much to someone having less than others. That move from measuring poverty to relative poverty turns it from a measure of actual poverty into one of inequality. The reason this was done is obvious, Britain abolished absolute poverty in the 1930s and where would the left be without something to whine about?
We are fortunate to be witnessing an attempt to again redefine:
More than a million people in the UK experienced destitution in 2015, including 312,000 children, according to a groundbreaking study by Heriott Watt University academics for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation published last year. It defined destitution in two ways: experience of at least two of six poverty measures over the previous month, including eating fewer than two meals a day for two or more days; or a weekly income after housing costs of £70 for a single adult or £140 for a couple with children. This was an income level below which people “cannot meet their core material needs for basic physiological functioning from their own resources”.
A definition of destitution which defines it as only two meals a day twice a month is rather co-opting a word with a very strong meaning to cover something really quite different.
We should also note, as we so often do, that this definition is before the things which people other than the state do to alleviate such distress.
What we are seeing here is an attempt to float another redefinition, like that to relative poverty measures, in order to show that there is some vast problem which needs more tax to solve.