Managing precarity: food bank use by low-income women workers in a changing welfare regime

BEATTY, Christina, BENNETT, Cinnamon and HAWKINS, Anna (2021). Managing precarity: food bank use by low-income women workers in a changing welfare regime. Social Policy and Administration: an international journal of policy and research, 55 (5), 981-1000.

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Employment had risen to historically high levels in Britain before the coronavirus crisis, however, whereas work is traditionally conceptualised as a route out of poverty this is no longer necessarily the case. Participation in non-standard or low-income work such as zero-hour contracts, involuntary part-time work and self-employment is increasingly a feature of the labour market and in-work benefits which top-up low incomes have been pared back. This case study undertaken in the period before the coronavirus crisis takes a multi-disciplinary approach in relation to three key questions: are working women resorting to food bank use in times of financial hardship?; to what extent is this a function of non-standard working practices?; and is welfare reform a contributing factor? A three-strand approach is taken: a synthesis of literature, an analysis of national data, and in-depth interviews with stakeholders involved with referrals to or delivery of emergency food provision within northern Britain. The findings highlight a growth in precarious employment models since the 2008/2009 recession and how this intersects with increasing conditionality in welfare policy. We contribute to the debate by arguing that ideological driven policy fails to acknowledge structural deficiencies in labour market demand and misattributes responsibility for managing precarious working patterns onto individuals who are already struggling to get by.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research; Political Science & Public Administration; 1605 Policy and Administration; 1606 Political Science; 1608 Sociology
Identification Number:
Page Range: 981-1000
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 23 Feb 2021 17:03
Last Modified: 13 Aug 2021 12:00

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