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‘Humiliated, isolated’: Over 1.25mn destitute in 21st century Britain

© Andrew Winning

In a climate of unyielding austerity, more than a million people across the UK are so impoverished they don’t have enough food, clothes, heating, shelter and toiletries, Britain’s first study into destitution has revealed.

The report, which was commissioned by UK charity the Joseph Rowntree Trust (JRT), used a new method to measure the scale of extreme poverty in Britain.

At present, there are no official government estimates of the level of destitution across the UK. But amid growing concern that extreme poverty is on the rise, the JRF commissioned a special report to investigate the matter.

The study was conducted by academics at Herriot-Watt University, a range of other experts and a number of key UK service providers. It took two years to complete, and was published on Wednesday.

It found that a startling 1.25 million people were destitute during 2015, 312,000 of whom were children. Some 80 percent of these were born in Britain.

While young, single citizens – especially men – were found to be more likely to suffer from extreme poverty, considerable numbers of families were also found to have suffered destitution.

Most severe form of poverty

Destitution is defined as the “most severe form of poverty in the UK,” which leaves people in such financial jeopardy they are unable to afford vital essentials such as food, toiletries and heating.

In order to discern whether an impoverished person can be defined as destitute, the report’s authors said they must lack two or more essentials deemed vital for basic living over a four-week period.

People who fell into this category included: those who had been forced to sleep rough; had no meal or just one per day over a period of 48 hours or longer; were unable to heat or light their home adequately for five or more days, and lacked weather-proof clothes or had to go without basic toiletries.

No central cause for destitution was uncovered. However, the majority who fell into this category had been impoverished for some time and had arrived at a tipping point that plunged them deeper into financial woe. Key drivers in this respect were spiraling financial costs of ill health, soaring rental and property prices, joblessness, and financial shocks such a delays or sanctions to benefit payments.

Areas rife with destitution

High rates of destitution were uncovered in ex-industrial areas across the northwest and northeast of England, Scotland, South Wales and Northern Ireland, as well as in inner-city London.
Unemployment was rife in these regions, while rates of long-term sickness and disability were also found to be above average.

In-depth interviews with 80 destitute citizens revealed that 30 percent had had their benefits sanctioned. Over 50 percent of this group made a direct link between being stripped of welfare payments and failing to meet the cost of basic living essentials.

Director of the Institute for Social Policy, Housing, Environment and Real Estate (I-SPHERE) at Heriot-Watt University, Professor Suzanne Fitzpatrick, who was a key author of the report, said destitution severely impacts peoples’ physical and mental health.

“The people we spoke to told us they felt humiliated that they couldn’t afford basic essentials without help. Many said that this affected their relationships and left them socially isolated,” she said.

“This report has shown that destitution is intrinsically linked to long-term poverty, with many people forced into destitution by high costs, unaffordable bills or a financial shock such as a benefit sanction or delay. More co-ordinated debt-collection practices, particularly from DWP, local councils and utility companies, could help to avoid small debts tipping people in to destitution.”

Chief Executive of the JRT Julia Unwin said the number of people living in destitution across the UK is shocking.

“It is simply unacceptable to see such levels of severe poverty in our country in the 21st Century,” she said.

“Governments of all stripes have failed to protect people at the bottom of the income scale from the effects of severe poverty, leaving many unable to feed, clothe or house themselves and their families.”

Unwin said that tackling many of the root causes of destitution would be difficult.

“Many people affected are living on a very low income before they are no longer able to make their incomes stretch, or a financial shock like a benefit delay or family breakdown pushes them over the edge into destitution. We have to tackle these root causes,” she said.

“Government, businesses and communities need to work together to provide better emergency support, make basic essentials more affordable and create better jobs if we are to end destitution in the UK.”

Calls for reform

The report’s authors identified those who were destitute by surveying people who relied on charitable crisis services such as foodbanks, debt advice groups, homelessness groups, and key services for migrants. Samples were taken from nine areas across the UK over a seven-day period in 2015.

This did not factor in those who only received help from councils or state programs, or those who found themselves in deep financial crisis, but did not seek assistance. As a result, the report estimates the true number of people living in destitution in Britain is likely “significantly higher” that 1.25 million.

JRF is calling on Britain’s Office of National Statistics (ONS) to start officially monitoring the number of destitute people across the nation. The group argues government policy, the UK’s business sector, and local communities must work in unison to offer better support to people in the throes of acute financial crisis.

In particular, it is calling for the government to address Britain’s housing problem and the biggest rise of precarious, low-paying work seen since 2010.

Source RT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have not had the heart to post

I have not had the heart to post much in recent days.Feeling to down at the news

filtering in from the world.Wars everywhere,people fleeing for their lives but the world

gives them a cold reception.Those that drop the bombs and get rich on the never ending war,

keep their own population poor and hungry,or in comatose middle comfort.So afraid are they

of loosing  STUFF  that instead they loose their humanity.Instead of seeing people like themselves they only the “other”.Those that stand against the tide are torn apart from strife

within themselves.Fear ,desperation,those in power have no shame,no guilt,no consciousness ,machine like amassing wealth that allows a few privileged to control and play with the lives of millions.

We really have become Airstrip 1 but nobody seems to notice.

Palace of Westminster © Andrew Winning

We may never know which UK politicians drink the most in the Palace of Westminster’s subsidized bars.

House of Commons speaker John Bercow invoked a controversial loophole in the Freedom of Information Act to censor documents that could expose excessive drinking by British leaders on the taxpayer’s pound.

Submitted by the Press Association, the FOI request wanted evidence or reports on “the provision and consumption of alcohol on the parliamentary estate, and related health effects” following a series of high-profile incidents involving heavy drinking and violence among members of parliament.

Former Labour MP Eric Joyce was convicted of assault for a 2012 brawl at the Strangers’ Bar when he headbutted Conservative MP Stuart Andrew and hit Labour whip Phil Wilson as well as Tory councillors Luke Mackenzie and Ben Maney.

Labour MP Eric Joyce © Luke MacGregor

Former UKIP and Tory MP Mark Reckless confessed to missing a late-night parliamentary vote in 2010 because he was too drunk

more at RT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The stories of Syrian children that went viral in 2015

The dead toddler who changed everything

Alan Kurdi

If there was one photo that captured the world’s attention, it was the picture of three-year-old Alan Kurdi’s body washed up on a Turkish beach. That one image came to symbolise the struggles of Syria’s refugees and helped galvanise global appeals to help them.

Alan, along with his brother Galib and mother Rehan, died on 2 September when their boat capsized, killing 12 Syrian migrants on their way to Greece. His father Abdullah was the only member of the family who survived. He now says he’s given up on his dream of going to Europe and that he will return to Syria.

In an interview with BBC Trending, Alan Kurdi’s aunt, Tima Kurdi, says that Alan’s death changed the way the world viewed refugees, “It is very painful to go through this tragedy, but in other ways. we are so proud of this picture [which] saved thousands of refugees,” she says.

Blog and illustrations by Mai Noman

The girl who mistook a camera for a weapon

Huda's photo was shared on Twitter over 25,000 times, but her father says nothing has changed in their lives since her story went viral.

A photo of a young girl holding up her arms up in front of a camera after she mistook it for a weapon went viral in early 2015 – but little was known about the child.

The original tweet that brought attention to this girl’s story was retweeted over 25,000 times. Back in March, BBC Trending tracked down the Turkish photojournalist, Osman Sağırlı, who took the picture in Atmeh camp on the Syrian border with Turkey. The photo was actually taken in 2014, and the girl’s name is Huda. “I was using a telephoto lens, and she thought it was a weapon,” Sağırlı explained.

BBC Trending tracked down Huda’s father to find out what has happened to the family since the photo of his three-year-old daughter went viral. “Nothing changed,” he said. “Our situation has gone from bad to worse, especially now that it’s winter.” Huda’s father says basic things, like water, are not always available at the camp where they’ve been living for the past three years.

A girl with her hands up in surrenderImage copyrightOsman Sağırlı
Image captionThe original photo was taken by Turkish photographer Osman Sağırlı in 2014

for many more stories that changed things go to BBC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Parliament throws 45,000 meals in the bin while 70,000 London kids go hungry’ – Labour MP

parliament.uk

Parliament wasted 45,000 meals last year as tens of thousands of children go hungry across London, an MP has said.

New figures that reveal the staggering amount of food waste in the British parliament have prompted calls for MPs to donate their unused meals to those in need.

Shadow Commons Leader Chris Bryant called on the government to give uneaten meals to local food banks in the capital.

Last year 1.2 million sausages were sent to landfill in Rhondda Cynon Taf alone, which is why it is great that the local council is now signing everybody up to proper food recycling,” the Welsh Labour MP said.

But new figures show that this House last year wasted 45,000 meals that were just tipped in the bin.

With 33 Trussell Trust food banks within the M25 and an estimated 70,000 children in London going to bed hungry each night, would it not be time for the leader to institute a new scheme to donate unused food from this palace to local London food banks?

full story at RT

 

 

 

 

 

 

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