Tuesday, 28 February 2006

UK Poverty

I've been meaning to get round to posting on UK poverty since Old Man Rich asked me about it here.

It was a good question and to be honest I never post enough on British matters, such is the intrinsic pull of US politics but the findings are worth publishing...

No surprise that us Brits have no right to be smug: 1 in 4 people in the UK are living in poverty, that's about 13 million people with 4 million of them children. But what does poverty mean in the UK?

Well it ranges from not being able to afford clothing, to not being able to save money, or not being able to afford heating and for children it often means only one sqaure meal a day (at school usually). And being born into poverty means that you're more likely to die young, be unempoyed and have low skill levels/level of education.

The number of people living in poverty in the UK frankly shocked me and for more info on what you can do or what the government should be doing visit Oxfam.


  1. Me da spent his retirement years in that chair. 'Twas his only companion after me own gran and dearest ma died in an horrible ox cart collision.

    Da was a simple man, proud in his way, but not so high of mind that he wouldn't let Robbie or Dexter have a good stand on his chair, as you can see in the picture you've posted.

    Arthur, mind you, he weren't allowed in Da's chair. He weren't even allowed all the way into Da's puddle, an' was just left there to shiver at the water's edge.

    Some say Da caused Arthur's problems, others say it was because Robbie took his broken red cup, also seen in this picture, which incidentally is the only family heirloom to survive Ma's ox cart collision.

    Whate'er 'twas, I'm sure of only one thing. Dad died in that chair, taken with the ague from sitting in a puddle for the last years of his tragic life.

    I imagine them up in heaven together, where the puddles are filled with virgin piss, instead of the Nottingham cistern overflow, as the picture clearly points out was much cleaner than the government said it was when they tried to have us removed.

    Up where the ol' chair is covered in the Golden Fleece, and St. Peter himself proclaims the glory of their diligent Christian spirits as they lived out their lives sitting in filth, simply because nobody could be arsed to take the idea of Love Thy Neighbour far enough to include living past forty.

  2. Both the US and the UK could solve the poverty problem by diverting some funds being used on Iraq.

    When I was in the military, I was surprised to see the junior enlisted troops qualifying for food stamps because their income was so low. Hard to believe, especially since housing was often removed from the equation because it was provided by the military at no cost. Sadly, I'm sure it's not any better now.

  3. I'm not able to save money, so I guess you could say I live in poverty, too. And I have to move because my neighborhood is "up and coming" ( i.e. becoming rapidly gentrified ) and my landlords are raising the rent because, well, someone offered them more, so they know they can get more. Never mind that I've already been living here for almost two years and have always paid rent on time.

    One thing we could do to fight poverty is demand higher wages. Who can afford to live on $6.00 an hour? The rich get richer and the working poor will end up living in a box.....unless the masses band together in a huge national walkout in the name of higher wages. Can you picture it?

  4. Good points Guy. There was an interesting article in the Guardian yesterday about educational achievement. Research still shows that class is a major factor affecting kids education and people say social class doesn't matter - I beg to differ.
    It's also interesting that Labour don't seem to be 'evening out' the the wealth divide. The way poverty is measured is also an interesting one. Some argue it should be measured on an absolute level whilst others argue it should be measured on a relative level. I'd argue for the latter! The Joseph Rowntree foundation is worth looking at with regards to poverty too! ;)

  5. It is the duty of the strong to protect the weak, the fit to nurse the sick, the rich to care for the poor. And it is the job of the goverment to be the concience of the people. A role in which the british goverment is failing. I firmly believe in a muli-banded tax system, with a higher 0% threshold, a lower rate for lower wages & a much higher rate for high incomes. Tax reductions for people with children & an end to the cap on National insurance. And that will hurt me financially. But so it should. And if that smells of socialism, well bring it on.

  6. Compared to the third world, poverty is very rare in the UK.

  7. But not that rare, 1 in 4 is not rare and comparisons with the rest of the world matter little if you're one of the 1 in 4.


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