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This paper explores the stigma of the most disadvantaged sections of society in the UK today. In the context of economic and financial crisis, there is a strong anti-welfarism based on the idea that welfare provision is to blame for the social and moral crisis in the UK. This idea is also perpetuated by the media, who sensationalises the negative aspects of the lives of those who experience poverty. The author argues that this anti-welfarism is increasingly informing policy approaches to poverty and, therefore, needs to be challenged by contesting the anti-poverty language and by re-focusing on income distribution as a means to approach poverty. This paper is part of a series of papers which have resulted from the Whose Economy? seminar series, held in Scotland in 2010 – 2011, whose purpose was to provide a space for researchers, representative organisations, policy-makers and people with experience of poverty to come together and explore the causes of poverty and inequality in today’s Scotland.

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