Surely throwing money at poor people wouldn’t help?

The evidence suggests that the wellbeing of the poor is more closely tied to income levels than is the wellbeing of the better off. When parking fines or a washing machine repair make a major difference to a whole month’s budgeting and sometimes  lead people to borrow from loan sharks or fall behind with the rent, there can be little doubt that higher incomes would decrease the sense of desperation and hopelessness that are particularly common among the least well off.  

Not having a sense of being in control of things has been shown to be an important source of stress and harmful to health.  Inadequate incomes mean people face one crisis after another. As a result, family life suffers as financial issues become a frequent source of conflict.