Setting the record straight: a CSJ response to the Truth and Lies about Poverty report

Document type
Wardle , Tom; Walker, Ben
Centre for Social Justice
Date of publication
2 May 2013
Poverty Alleviation Welfare Benefits and Financial Inclusion, Families, Social Policy
Social welfare
Material type

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A recent report by a prominent group of Churches, The lies we tell ourselves: ending comfortable myths about poverty, seeks to expose a number of ‘myths’ which, in their words, ‘allow the poor to be blamed for their poverty, and the rest of society to avoid taking any of the responsibility’. According to CSJ, the report is inconsistent in its own methodology. It proceeds from an assumption that we must move beyond ‘anecdote’ and ‘prejudice’ to ‘evidence’, but then attempts to rebut the ‘myths’ using its own contrary anecdotes and case studies. While the report does raise some valid points, much of it is based on serious misinformation and fails to give an accurate representation of life ‘on the breadline’ today. This paper takes issue with each of these six ‘myths’ in turn.

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