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Overview

Oxfam GB established a UK Poverty Programme (UKPP) in the mid 1990s in response to a concern that it should begin to address poverty ‘at home’ in a more systematic way. The overall purpose of the UKPP is to have a direct impact on poverty and social exclusion in the UK, by strengthening the skills and capacity of the community and voluntary sector to tackle poverty more effectively, and by direct lobbying and campaigning based on Oxfam’s domestic and international programme experience. In both its international and UK programmes, Oxfam works in alliance with partner organisations in long-term development and anti-poverty work with community groups and people in poverty. Oxfam takes a ‘rights-based’ approach to poverty and suffering. We regard poverty as multi-dimensional and complex, comprising at least four aspects: not having enough to live on, not having enough to build from, being excluded from wealth, and being excluded from the power to change things for the better. Thus our definition goes beyond the purely economic to encompass poor capabilities, exclusion, powerlessness and inequity. The UKPP’s response is organised around key programme themes: sustainable livelihoods; asylum; and equalities (race and gender). In our response, Oxfam makes general comments on a range of issues relevant to the Green Paper: the ‘sustainable livelihoods’ approach; conditionality and compulsion; issues facing lone parents; delivering welfare reform; and the absence of gender analysis. We then make specific comments in response to questions 1-4, 7, 10, and 11 set out in the paper.

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