to remind people that 1 in 3 children born on Tuesday were born into poverty

(280 Posts)
kim147 Thu 25-Jul-13 00:16:09

Check out your local ward. 41% in inner city Leeds where I work.

Let's not forget them.

mummymeister Thu 25-Jul-13 00:22:04

the definition of poverty as used by this article and others means that there will always be the same number/percentage of children in poverty. as in if the bottom 25% (or whatever percentage) are deemed to be in poverty then there will always be a bottom 25% so there will always be 25% or whatever of the children in our population in poverty. poverty is a relative term. it means in western society less affluent than the top 25%. however if you compare our populations bottom 25% say with the bottom 25% of some of the African states then ours don't look quite so bad do they. sorry but threads like this get on my nerves. yes there are a large percentage of kids in poverty and yes we need to do something proactive and positive about it. but there will always, always always be a bottom X% in poverty by these definitions it will never never be eradicated. take the initiative and do something about it in your own area.

Darkesteyes Thu 25-Jul-13 01:07:42

Whats with the race to the bottom mummymeister. Why it it always comparisons to Africa. (you wouldnt go onto a thread about domestic abuse or child abuse and say "well think yourselves lucky because in such and such a country they have FGM so things could be worse for you) so why do it with poverty.

And why is it always comparisons with Africa. Why not France or Germany.

ilovesooty Thu 25-Jul-13 01:23:51

It's over 50% in the area of Hull where I'm working two days a week at the moment.

Darkesteyes Thu 25-Jul-13 01:28:06

Sooty sad

Yanbu - not that it seems to matter too much to the media in general.

softlysoftly Thu 25-Jul-13 01:30:48

Just Tuesday?

FreudiansSlipper Thu 25-Jul-13 01:38:53

around here its jumps from 7% (which i struggle to believe) to 34% a few roads away sad

matilda101 Thu 25-Jul-13 01:39:51

They shouldn't have been born. There are wars and means of preventing pregnancies.

FreudiansSlipper Thu 25-Jul-13 01:42:17

who shouldn't have been born?

TabithaStephens Thu 25-Jul-13 04:48:35

How is what mummymeister said anything to do with a "race to the bottom"?

As long as poverty is defined as the poorest 25%, there will always be children born into poverty.

DoodleAlley Thu 25-Jul-13 06:18:58

This is a very serious issue. I have long said that Tuesday is the worst day of the week.

SwishSwoshSwoosh Thu 25-Jul-13 06:32:32

Don't have much time for posters whose only response is to quibble the measure tbh, they know full well there are people struggling and children really suffering in this country whatever measure is used.

TabithaStephens Thu 25-Jul-13 06:37:02

So use a measure that actually measures poverty, instead of a measure by which a certain percentage of people are in poverty no matter how prosperous the country is. The same percentage of people are in poverty in every country in the world using that measure. Are you going to argue the same % of children are growing up poor in Switzerland as in Ethiopia?

I do not think throwing money at parents is the answer to anything, it just breeds resentment among those who do not have children, many of whom are struggling as much if not more than those who choose to have kids.

SwishSwoshSwoosh Thu 25-Jul-13 06:45:39

Stop telling me what you don't agree with tabitha and say something about what you would do. You know, I know, everyone knows there are large numbers of people really struggling.

I can't be doing with people who spout guff about an equal society causing resentment. Just have the balls to come out and say you don't want a more equal society because you don't give a toss about other people and you believe it could never happen to you. A least then I could respect you.

This same argument has been going for decades now. The same facts about more equal societies being happier, lower crime, higher social cohesion etc - they don't breed resentment. That is a load of drivel trotted out every time.

UseHerName Thu 25-Jul-13 06:51:07
redcaryellowcar Thu 25-Jul-13 06:53:41

I had thought poverty might be measured on some key things like income housing access to basics e.g tv which would then be comparable with other countries in Europe or further afield. I have to agree that whilst 'poorest' 25% are deemed to be living in poverty then the stat won't change and consequently means very little. Apologies for bein naive but I didn't know how it was measured.

Joiningthegang Thu 25-Jul-13 07:02:21

I would agree that poverty is relative - and many that are working are also in poverty - but the bottom x% will always be the bottom x% even when everyone gets richer.

Also - this is material poverty - you could have less income but a richer life iyswim.

The increase in food banks and change in benefits is going to make it much much worse.

In my day job I am working to increase the life chance of many children who are in "bad" situations due to addiction - leading to poverty. What will everyone be doing to change the lives of children - rather than just hand wringing?

If this is just s dig at baby George the yabu - no more his or Williams fault they were born to be king than those children's fault their dad is a heroin addict.

Mummymeister it's the median that is ued. And even if you were right and nationally the same proportion were in poverty this is showing variation across the country which is still interesting

SwishSwoshSwoosh Thu 25-Jul-13 07:11:17

Redcar - the question I would ask is, given the irrefutable facts that many UK families can not afford necessities, are you personally ok with that or do you think we should aim for more fairness?

Whenever there is a discussion about poverty it resorts to a debate about which measure we should use. Which is a convenient way of not having to think about the real people involved.

TabithaStephens Thu 25-Jul-13 07:12:31

We need to address the root causes of poverty, instead of throwing money around to relieve the symptoms. For all the increased spending under Labour, there was more poverty at the end of their government than there was at the start.

ANormalOne Thu 25-Jul-13 07:16:31

Tabitha And are all the cuts under the coalition doing anything to reduce poverty?

Mrchip Thu 25-Jul-13 07:17:42

Agree with mummymeister
I think Africa is an obvious comparison to show differences in what being the bottom 25% entails in different continents/countries.
Our bottom 25% have access to nhs, schools, lunch 5/7 days....
Whether those in poverty access the services available is a different matter and having worked in SureStart I'd say this is a big issue.

littlewhitebag Thu 25-Jul-13 07:18:05

What has Tuesday got to do with it?

<disclaimer: didn't read link>

I thought the poverty line was 70% of average family income.
Though that's a tricky measure too, as a handful of super high earners losing their jobs will lower the mean income, so can then be said to lift hundreds of families out of poverty. Those families will not be any better off, just shifted the other side of a notional line by a change in the average measure.
A living wage would go some way to alleviating poverty, as it can be used to ensure that families in full time work remain above the poverty line.
There will always be those who either will not or cannot work, for myriad reasons, but it seems unjust that minimum wage is so low that even full time workers need benefits to top up to a poverty line income.

MalcolmTuckersMum Thu 25-Jul-13 07:21:26

Probably because that was when the new Royal baby was born Little and as everyone knows these problems didn't exist at all in any form at any time in the past in this country. It's all the baby's fault!

The prince was born on Monday wasn't he?

kim147 Thu 25-Jul-13 07:23:05

It's children living in families where the income is 60% of the median income.

That is quite a way below - and when you are in such a family, life is pretty hard especially when you look round and see how others live. Relative poverty is very hard.

SwishSwoshSwoosh Thu 25-Jul-13 07:23:36

Tabitha - given you don't agree with the measures used, how can you now use them to back up your political points about Labour? Why are you making this party political?

'Root causes of poverty' - like low wage economy, inequality, regressive taxation system.

You are chucking sound bites around like a good 'un but nothing you say actually means anything.

Either you think the poor deserve to stay poor or you don't.

Summerblaze Thu 25-Jul-13 07:24:05

Yes, the baby was born on Monday.

MalcolmTuckersMum Thu 25-Jul-13 07:24:18

Except it was born on Monday grin - I think - [dazed and confused]. In any event I can't see any link in the article to the 'Tuesday' thing.

And some of those children also have the self determination to get out of it.

Some children are born i to wealth and don't amount to a hill of beans ....

There is more to poverty than just putting some £££££ value to it.

wintersdawn Thu 25-Jul-13 07:24:39

I'm with matilda if ypu you can't afford them don't have them. I'd love more kids but know their quality of life would go down so have made the decision not to. You don't even have to pay for contraception in this country so there is no excuse.

kim147 Thu 25-Jul-13 07:24:42

Of course it's not the baby's fault - but just a reminder about the reality of live for many children in this country.

MalcolmTuckersMum Thu 25-Jul-13 07:28:40

There have been many threads lately about the very real difficulties being experienced by so many MN'ers. Many threads. Some of the stories have been moving and humbling. What is your motive in starting this one? What has 'Tuesday' got to do with it?

kim147 Thu 25-Jul-13 07:31:30

So I got the date wrong - sue me.

With all this gushing about the Royal family and all the press adoration / attention and all the crowds outside, where's the same for these children?

That's the point.

SwishSwoshSwoosh Thu 25-Jul-13 07:31:50

MalcolmTuckersMum - I think the point being made is a baby is not responsible for where it gets born - whether into poverty or wealth.

littlewhitebag Thu 25-Jul-13 07:32:17

The royal baby was born on Monday.

Children are born into poverty every day. It's terrible. But nothing to do with the royal baby in the slightest.

SwishSwoshSwoosh Thu 25-Jul-13 07:34:27

Winters - I respect you because your post shows you are honest enough to admit you have no compassion, subtlety or human kindness. At least you don't hide behind sound bites. I can respect the heartless.

MalcolmTuckersMum Thu 25-Jul-13 07:38:46

Of course no baby is responsible for where, when or how it gets born. Only an idiot could think otherwise. I just think this thread is disingenuous - is it an anti-Royalty rant (cos let's face it, there hasn't been even one of those since the birth) or is it to draw attention to the article or is it because the OP wants us to consider the dreadful way that so many people are being forced to live right now? Because as I said before there have been quite a few threads lately on that very matter. Upsetting threads. I can't quite see the need for another one.

kim147 Thu 25-Jul-13 07:43:26

It's because there has been so much support for the monarchy and so much press attention -endless headlines, media stuff etc

But the reality of life in modern day Britain gets ignored by a lot of mainstream media and all these cuts etc get so much support in the press whilst those who struggle get ignored and even criticised.

I work in one of those areas where children have a really hard life. Where's their voice? Why aren't people out there sending them stuff whilst people are happy to send cards and baby gifts to a family who have no need for them.

SwishSwoshSwoosh Thu 25-Jul-13 07:43:46

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peachactiviaminge Thu 25-Jul-13 07:46:38

If a child has a right to life is not your choice to make thankfully Matilda. I have two beautiful children living in poverty but they eat they are happy and most importantly they are loved. Money is never everything people who abuse their children could be rich but I guess they have more of a right to their babies than I do to mine because they have money and who needs love and compassion if you have cold hard cash.

peachactiviaminge Thu 25-Jul-13 07:48:00

Oh and 37% in the poorest city in England.

MalcolmTuckersMum Thu 25-Jul-13 07:49:16

Do try not to be silly Swish. There is no such thing as 'the thread police' (Except MNHQ). There are people with different and differing opinions. That is all.

ShadeofViolet Thu 25-Jul-13 07:50:53

And those who have children, then have an illness/disability/redundancy - what should those people do? Choose their favourite?

SwishSwoshSwoosh Thu 25-Jul-13 07:53:24

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HarryandJess Thu 25-Jul-13 08:01:10

YABU. I'm with mummymeister and tabithastephens on this.

YANBU it's awful that in a first world country like ours there is a need for food banks etc.

Fayrazzled Thu 25-Jul-13 08:06:58

Gosh the petty squabbling on this thread is so depressing. Nothing is going to be done to reduce child poverty and increase income equality while people are more prepared to argue over the definitions used to measure poverty than they are to turn their minds to sorting the situation out. I didn't see this thread as anti-Royal either. The OP was just pointing out that 1 in 3 children born on the same day as Prince George will be born into poverty. I think thta's quite shocking actually. In the same way George cannot help being born into the Royal Family neither can those children help the families they are born into.

It is an interesting question why people are so apathetic not just about this issue but the wider dismantling of the welfare state, NHS, justice system etc. is it an I'm all right Jack attitude, so people don't worry about those services until they need them? Is the media complicit by not focussing on these issues more in the media? I don't know TBH. Why is it acceptable for the tiny richest % of the population to get richer while the rest of us stand by and let it happen?

28% where I am now, not surprised really, DH has recently got involved helping a homeless shelter/food bank. Btw, if you are over this way DENS are a wonderful charity.

The OP was just pointing out that 1 in 3 children born on the same day as Prince George will be born into poverty. I think thta's quite shocking actually. In the same way George cannot help being born into the Royal Family neither can those children help the families they are born into.


bearleftmonkeyright Thu 25-Jul-13 08:12:02

Yanbu to make this point. It's a fair one, there are children living in dreadful poverty. Of course, log onto a parenting website, apparently these children should not have been born. Or they are not starving because a fsm is available to them. Their parents may not have cars, so they can't drive to Sainsburys to buy family bags of wholeweat pasta. They may go to the corner shop and buy bread and jam but hey, they don't live in Africa!

LittleBearPad Thu 25-Jul-13 08:12:39

These statistics are pretty meaningless for the reasons outlined above. If 25% are defined as being relatively poor then they will always be so regardless of how much income they actually have. If the information was based on concrete examples ie access to certain material goods for example it would be more interesting.

Finally Kim147 simply saying that relative poverty is bad is too simplistic. I feel relatively poor to my neighbours because I can't afford £2 million quid or anything near it for a house. I am by no means poor though.

bearleftmonkeyright Thu 25-Jul-13 08:16:08

Statistics maybe are meaningless, the reality is there.

This map shows the variation across the country
Can people who are saying by definition there are always going to be some people in poverty genuinely not see this?

And statistics are not bloody meaningless I am sick of having this argument!

bearleftmonkeyright Thu 25-Jul-13 08:23:01

I think I made my point very badly. I was just trying to say that statistics are meaningless in the context of living a life in poverty. There has to be measures polarbear. It is just noone ever chooses to take notice. Comparisons to living in Africa are so disingenuous.

filee777 Thu 25-Jul-13 08:25:04

Having travelled, it really does bitterly amuse me how freely we use the word 'poverty' in this country.

bearleftmonkeyright Thu 25-Jul-13 08:32:05

Clearly you havent travelled far in the UK fillee.

HollyBerryBush Thu 25-Jul-13 08:33:40

Well poverty is relative. Are any of these children living on the beach or down the sewers, or do they have a roof over their heads (even if a B&B) do they have access to clean running water and flush toilets? have they got a free education and health service? have they got food or is there a famine/drought locally? have they got clothes and shoes?

The poorest person in this country is in the top 1% of world wide affluence.

SwishSwoshSwoosh Thu 25-Jul-13 08:34:07

I just feel so sad it is always a discussion about the statistics and not the people. The actual real living humans involved.

ShadeofViolet Thu 25-Jul-13 08:36:58

Poverty top trumps is never going to end well, plus it trivializes the whole issue.

AKAK81 Thu 25-Jul-13 08:37:20

If you can't feed 'em don't breed 'em. Its not like there isn't easy access to free contraception in this country. We'd love a child but can't afford one at the moment so we don't have one. Its called self control.

ShadeofViolet Thu 25-Jul-13 08:40:40

Is it right-wing outreach day today?

Fayrazzled Thu 25-Jul-13 08:42:46

So what are you actually suggesting then, AKAK81? That as a society we do nothing to help the children living in poverty because their parents shouldn't have had them?

kim147 Thu 25-Jul-13 08:43:05

It's not 25% defined as being relatively poor.

It's if your income is below 60% of the median.

So if the median is £25,000 (I'm not sure what the actual median is), that means you are defined as being in poverty if your income is less than £15,000.

It's not having an income in the bottom 25%.

HappyMummyOfOne Thu 25-Jul-13 08:43:35

The 25% is meaningless given the way its measured. Our welfare state means nobody lives in actual poverty. Poverty is no where to live or no money coming into the household at all.

If children are being born into "poverty" then thats the decision their parents make for them and nobody else is to blame. There are many things in life people would like but most are sensible and ensure they can afford them before going ahead. Self responsibility seems to go out of the windown for many sadly.

SwishSwoshSwoosh Thu 25-Jul-13 08:47:48

Again 'Happy'MummyofOne - I commend you on being honest enough to express your inability to care about other humans honestly. None of this hiding behind platitudes for you.

"Poverty is no where to live or no money coming into the household at all."

Says who?????
If that were the case people would presumably die within a week or so (not being able to pay for running water n all). I bloody well hope no one in this country does. That doesn't mean that everything is tickety boo.

Also, to the person who said that it's a shame the discussion is always about the statistics rather than actual real people - I agree to a point. But the stats are important in order to decide on priorities. Otherwise I could make a big fuss about my friend who tripped over a shopping trolley and died (fictional friend) continue to bang my drum and get people onside with emotional blackmail and we could campaign to get shopping trolleys BANNED. Statistics take the emotion and stories out in order to see where the problems actually are. Once we know that, the stories and emotions have their place, definitely

SwishSwoshSwoosh Thu 25-Jul-13 09:00:56

Stealth - it was me, and what I mean is those who don't want to see the reality hide behind a debate about whether the stats are meaningless or not.

Once you accept the truth that poverty exists, you measure it and analyse it, sure.

kim147 Thu 25-Jul-13 09:08:40

Like I said - where's their voice? Where's the media attention for these children? It's hardly anywhere - especially in the mainstream press.

In my area, it's 25%. You can tell - the high street consists of charity shops, pound shops and money lenders. All the figures for health indicators are pretty bad around here.

But this stuff does not get much attention. Our media is more obsessed with other stories or bashing people in this situation. The Government has no interest and couldn't give two figs about payday lenders.

wannaBe Thu 25-Jul-13 09:10:20

So what are the parents doing about it? Sitting back and waiting for the government to provide?

By those statistics I am now living in poverty (recently become single parent, reliant on xh for support as was sahm for ten years and trying to build a business/find work – whichever happens first and not entitled to any benefits apparently). So the really intelligent thing to do now would be to have a baby wouldn’t it? hmm

I have every sympathy with people who find themselves in hard times, through disability or illness or redundancy etc, although yes, poverty is relative, and at least we do actually have a welfare state in this country, unlike other countries where poverty actually does mean you starve.

But I find it difficult to sympathise with anyone who is struggling to financially support the children they have and then go on to have more. There is such a thing as self responsibility you know – the government isn’t responsible for someone’s decision to have a baby. And before anyone throws out the contraceptive failure line, contraception isn’t that unreliable that 33% of babies (born into poverty) were a result of contraceptive failure.

People need to get rid of their sense of entitlement and start taking responsibility for their own lives. If you can’t afford to support your kids then you are responsible for your baby being born into porverty if you decide too have another one, nobody else.

BridgetBidet Thu 25-Jul-13 09:18:09

I do think there is a problem with children living in poverty, but we do need a better measure of what poverty is. Because the way it works at the moment if children are raised out of poverty then other people go into it, according to the current measure. It usually means that pensioners go into it. Because, as Mummymeister says, there always has to be a bottom 25%.

I don't agree with Mummymeister that there is not a problem though, just a problem with how we measure it.

Incidentally those most likely to be in poverty are those children who have parents who work, not those who have parents on benefits.

HappyMummyOfOne Thu 25-Jul-13 09:18:21

Swish, i care lots about others and there are many things in life that are awful and i have every sympathy with, some i have experienced others friends have or people i volunteer with. Its quite allowed to have a different opinion of "poverty".

However, many things people can control and choose not to, like having a child when the household income cant cover it, not working or having x number if children with no back up plan should anything happen the the relationship etc. Throwing money at people doesnt work, the benefit system has been in place for years and more and more are claiming. Some down to job losses but most are long term claimaints of a few years. It does astound me the number that have a child they cannot afford because they want one (or the benefits that follow) with little regard to the outcomes for the child.

The system needs to get tough, yes we need welfare to ensure those that are disabled and cant work are provided for but if we stopped throwing money at those that can work and choose not to or did away with child benefits then we would force people to be responsible for themselves and any child they create. Posts galore on here where people admit to not working as they can claim the same in tax credits, people reducing hours to ensure they net more WTC and some already contemplating how to get around the new stricter rules for UC.

SwishSwoshSwoosh Thu 25-Jul-13 09:21:22

Wannabe - so just to be clear, any children born to people don't follow your rules? What then? Just tough shit? They are children, babies.

I like how your compassion stretches far enough to include yourself! Plenty of people (not me btw) would judge you for where you are now.

SwishSwoshSwoosh Thu 25-Jul-13 09:26:39

'It's quite allowed to have a different definition of poverty' yes quite, you can have a definition of poverty that shows that those in poverty are in fact very wealthy, if you want.

The stuff you are writing is factually inaccurate.

You are entitled to have a different definition of 'facts' too.

kim147 Thu 25-Jul-13 09:29:28

FFS - there does not have to be a bottom 25%.

Don't people understand how this works?

If everyone had an income above 60% of the median wage, no one would be defined as being in poverty.

Which means if everyone had an income above £15,000 (not sure of the actual figure), no one would be in poverty.

It's not about the bottom 25% being defined as in poverty.

MiddleAgeMiddleEngland Thu 25-Jul-13 09:29:57

Can't be bothered to get into the argument.

If anyone feels strongly, please do something about it. We 'celebrated' the royal birth by taking an extra bag of shopping to the food bank. Write to your MP, donate some money to a local children's charity, donate money to an overseas charity if you like.

Would love to think that some of the estimated £250 million to be spent on royal baby souvenirs could be diverted to a deserving cause.

Don't spend time wingeing, get on and do something postive.

Silverfoxballs Thu 25-Jul-13 09:32:50

It is not anti royalist it is just pointing out that by accident of birth that is your place in society immediatly. If you have the brains and the luck you may claw your way out.

I also get a bit sick of the comparisons to countries where dc can't even access clean drinking water. It is relative poverty were talking about. I'm not for a communist utopia but I loathe the huge unequal gap. The comparisons to Africa just draw people away from what the actual problems are.

Unless you are incredibly wealthy then any of us can fall in to poverty. I have a friend who has so far this year had his wife leave him and now has cancer. He has lost his job and will now lose his home with the divorce. He will go from having it all to having nothing.

ReallyTired Thu 25-Jul-13 09:34:50

I think that you have to look at povety world wide. It is terrible that children are born into families where the parents cannot feed them or send them to school, or pay for medical treatment. It is terrible that children in countries like the US (a less boring example than African countries) die from easily treatable diseases becuase their parents cannot afford healthcare. People in relative povety do not suffer as much as the bottom third in many other countries.

Relative povety is a different problem. It is social exclusion that a child's parent cannot afford a school trip. Wearing secondhand clothes from a charity shop will not kill a child, but may well embrass a child.

We need to look at ways of increasing social moblity to help people in relative povety rather than cutting benefits.

lottieandmia Thu 25-Jul-13 09:36:24

'They shouldn't have been born.'

What an intelligent response hmm

wannaBe Thu 25-Jul-13 09:39:40

Nobody is judging the children though. But the point is that if you can’t afford to have another baby then the decision to have another baby is yours and yours alone. It is not the government’s responsibility that you decided to have another baby you can’t afford. Yes the government will provide in some respects, child benefit, tax credits etc, but the point is that if your child is born into poverty then that is nobody’s fault but your own for deciding to have another baby when you already live in poverty.

And on what basis exactly would you like to judge me? Because I was a sahm? Even though my xh earned enough to support that and paid more tax than the average wage? Because I left my marriage even though it was an unhappy one (the details of which are nobody’s business frankly). Because I rely on my xh for support? (we have a child together, he supports me because I gave up a career to bring up our child, once I am earning enough he will stop supporting me). Or because I have made the point that I am not entitled to any other benefits?

I have never claimed any benefits other than child benefit, and as I have a disability I am entitled to DLA which the government are likely to take away from me in the not too distant future because of cuts. Apart from that I am not entitled to single person’s council tax because my xh’s name is on the mortgage (he facilitated me being able to buy a house here so we could stay here for his relationship with ds) and even though he doesn’t live here I am not entitled to sing person’s council tax, he is though in his house even though he is the one earning the salary. I am not entitled too child tax credits for reasons which I am unaware of, the whole system is too complicated for me to understand fully anyway. If I can build my business I will earn independently, if I can find a job I will doo the same, but the reality is that with 87% of people with disabilities out of work that’s not as straightforward as I would like it to be. . I am not reliant on the state.

But reality is that if I decided that now would be a good time to have another baby it would just be a bloody stupid idea wouldn’t it? Because truth is I can’t afford one. So if I had another baby now and it was born into what is defined as poverty, the responsibility for the fact that baby was born into poverty would be mine and mine alone.

We should be asking ourselves why it is that so many children are living in that definition of poverty, of course we should. Bu

T equally it’s not wrong to question why, if someone can’t afford to financially support the children they already have, they feel it is ok to continue having more children.

Nerfmother Thu 25-Jul-13 09:41:57

Kim I don't understand your maths. If everyone had an income above the median wage wouldn't the median them change? So people would be below it?

thefuturesnotourstosee Thu 25-Jul-13 09:42:56

22% in my ward.

Two wards adjoining us - 52% and 49% sad

Silverfoxballs Thu 25-Jul-13 09:46:29

That means I shouldn't have been born then as I was at the bottom of the heap easily. I did not ask to be born as do none of us.

wannaBe, I had no idea you had recently separated, sorry to hear that, and I hope things are as good as they can be.

I agree that if everyone's income rises, then the median will also rise.

SwishSwoshSwoosh Thu 25-Jul-13 09:51:47

Wannabe - If you're not judging the children, and it is not their fault, then are you saying you accept that society has to provide for them? Or are you saying you don't judge them but tough luck if they go hungry?

kim147 Thu 25-Jul-13 09:53:17


The median figure is the middle income.

Being in poverty is defined as having an income less than 60% of that income.

Say there's 100 people

The 50th person had an income of £25,000. There could be 10 people earning less than £15,000 so they are in poverty.

If tax etc changes, those 10 people could see their income rise but the person in the middle still gets the same income. A kind of squeezing up at the bottom.

So now those 10 people earn more than £15,000 but the 50th person still has an income of £25,000. So the median is still the same but the lowest person in that 100 earns more than £15,000.

kim147 Thu 25-Jul-13 09:54:11

The point is - everyone's income does not need to rise.

Just the income of those at the bottom whilst those in the middle stays the same.

Nerfmother Thu 25-Jul-13 09:55:37

Thank you! Am overwhelmed by median mean and mode at the moment ( year five maths and ds) . Now it makes sense.

wannaBe Thu 25-Jul-13 09:56:58

thank you stealth. smile we actually separated last july but I moved out earlier this year (once settlements and so forth could be sorted), I'm generally not one for wanting to publish my life online iyswim...

swish what I'm saying is that we need to lookat means by which less children are born into poverty in the first place, and that if that means saying to people "you know, if you can't afford a baby then it's really not ok to just have one and expect the government to provide for it." of course once that child is born then we as a society need to look out for it, but no, if you can't afford more children then it's really not ok to just keep having them with the sense that they will be provided for by the state.

curlew Thu 25-Jul-13 09:57:18

The fact that we live in a society where anyone has to rely on foodbanks is a shame to us all. All the quibbling about definitions is just a smokescreen. We should be ashamed.

Ah yes iswym now kim, was confused by the everyone's income rising red herring

SwishSwoshSwoosh Thu 25-Jul-13 10:00:22

Wannabe - so how are you going to achieve this mystical land where everyone lives by your rules? Babies will be born. Answer the question - where a baby is born into poverty would you rather society steps in or we leave it to suffer?

kim147 Thu 25-Jul-13 10:00:55

Exactly , Curlew.

I've travelled and I've seen what could be called real poverty. People begging me for scraps of food whilst I ate.

But we are a rich country. Most of the wealth is in the hands of very very few people. The fact we have food banks and exploitation of the poor with pay day lenders that Cameron refuses to do anything about says a lot about us.

SwishSwoshSwoosh Thu 25-Jul-13 10:02:41

Or when you say 'means by which less babies are born' are you talking compulsory birth control?

Owllady Thu 25-Jul-13 10:05:25

8% here
4% in the town my children go to school in

I am not at all surprised tbh. The level of wealth here makes me feel really uncomfortable

Owllady Thu 25-Jul-13 10:09:05

actually I have just clicked on where i was brought up and it's a deprived area, former coal mining villages/towns/area and it's only 8% where my Mum lives. There are good state schools though and housing is a lot cheaper and employment is still high because it has good access links

wannaBe Thu 25-Jul-13 10:09:35

Swish clearly you are just being deliberately obtuse. I already said that of course when the baby is born it should be provided for. Is the idea of personal responsibility so very alien to you though? It’s no different to saying to people that if they smoke they will develop lung cancer, if you eat too much crap you will become obese, if you have a baby you can’t afford then it will live in poverty and that will be your fault. What is so wrong with telling people they shouldn’t be having babies they can’t afford? Or do you think that the state should facilitate people having as many children as they want regardless of the cost?

Swish, economic and social policies can alter whether people choose to bring more babies into the world. I agree that when a baby is here it should not be made to suffer for the 'sins' of its parents. However the reality is that these children will suffer to some extent. There are huge variations geographically and socio-economically in the opportunities offered to children and how they then go on to live their lives.

SwishSwoshSwoosh Thu 25-Jul-13 10:22:28

This is about financial poverty. The unequal ness of our society causes the problems of having children in financial poverty. So the solution should be to change that. Not to tell people they can't have a family because they are the unlucky ones at the bottom.

Nerfmother Thu 25-Jul-13 10:24:47

The benefits debate is not helped by My local paper running twice in the last months headlines featuring an unemployed family of 8 'demanding' a bigger house. Complete with new borns in arms and sad faced toddlers. I suspect a lot of working people don't regularly mix socially with people solely on benefits and so this is the only info they get.

SwishSwoshSwoosh Thu 25-Jul-13 10:25:18

As an aside, if you think smoking take up is all about the health message and poor diet all about the obesity message, you are wrong. In particular the low cost of poor quality food is a big driver. Again, something that could be in part addressed by tackling poverty.

Nerfmother Thu 25-Jul-13 10:25:24

Two separate families that is.

SwishSwoshSwoosh Thu 25-Jul-13 10:32:11

Talking about personal responsibility, I think it is disingenuous to talk about personal responsibility for wealth or poverty actually. We are right back to where this whole thread started.

Are those people responsible for being poor? Some are but actually many people are not. Redundancy, ill health etc.

RatUpADrainpipe Thu 25-Jul-13 10:38:12

to remind people that 1 in 3 children born on Tuesday were born into poverty

And you would like me to do what, exactly?

Owllady Thu 25-Jul-13 10:43:34

This is an observational post, rather than a judgemental one but I worked as a retail manager for many years overseeing those in minimum wage positions and there was the aspirations amongst some of the younger women who worked there to have a baby and it did not matter if you didn't have a regular boyfriend and still lived with Mum and Dad as they thought once baby was here wages would get topped up and they would get a flat/housing off the council. Many of them over the years did become single Mums and get a flat etc, but the reality for them of having to juggle a full/part time lower paid position and be a single Mum was really difficult for them. I felt sad that the only way some of these young people can 'afford' a family is to be on some sort of benefit to enable them to do that and their access to housing and independent living became accessible because they had a baby - otherwise it was unaffordable and out of reach. Working people, even those on low wages, should be able to afford to do normal stuff like have a baby without government support but the reality is they cannot. Is it their fault? I don't think it is. I think it is corporate failing, not paying people proper wages that have to be topped up and yet making massive profits - that coupled with the price of housing, peoples choices become limited

I do think people ont his thread think poor people shouldn't have children. I bet a lot of us wouldn't have been born if that was the case <sigh>

HeySoulSister Thu 25-Jul-13 10:43:53

kim what is your solution then!??

42% where I live sad

So some people suggest that nearly half of children born where I live shouldnt be?! Because their parents cant afford it? Wtf?

Well, at least it'd be a doddle to get my DCs into whichever school I wanted hmm

Fayrazzled Thu 25-Jul-13 10:46:21

Well, Ratupadrainpipe, I'm not the OP, but I don't think she's suggesting you have to single handededly sort the situation out. Perhaps she was hoping for a lovely, engaging debate about why in the UK in 2013 1 in 3 children is born into poverty?

I"m slightly aghast that there seem to be a number of people on this thread that consider that statistic to be of no interest to them and no business of theirs to sort out, even if sorting it out only means engaging in a discussion about why it might be happening and whether as a society it is something that should change.

Fayrazzled Thu 25-Jul-13 10:47:30

Lively not lovely.

kim147 Thu 25-Jul-13 10:47:34

Address tax issues, contracts, a living wage, housing costs, food costs, energy costs.

It's a start. Look at the tax system.

countingmyblessings Thu 25-Jul-13 11:00:44

There is more to eradicating poverty than dishing out money. It's about providing more & better opportunities to the under privileged, acknowledging the prevalence of discrimination & stamping it out, pinpointing issues facing poor socio-economic groups & help dilute those problems by implementing viable long term solutions.
The government are not doing enough.

wannaBe Thu 25-Jul-13 13:09:02

My issue is that there’s no such thing as personal responsibility any more. Or actually, the less you have, the less responsibility you apparently have to take.

Someone smokes? Well there must be reasons for that, it’s an addiction, can’t help it, etc etc, yet people do ultimately make the choice to start smoking.

Morbidly obese? Must be depressed/mental health issues that led to that.

In loads of debt? It’s the fault of the banks for lending the money, no mention of the fact that nobody actually holds a gun to someone’s head and makes them borrow 125% of the value of their home thus ensuring negative equity before even starting.

Have eight kids and no money but want another one? Oh well, it’s the fault of the state that you don’t have enough money, so have another baby, it’ll survive on the love you can provide it.

Yet if someone earns good money and makes a decent living they are apparently not only responsible for the fact they earn that kind of money, but also should be responsible for the people who are unwilling/incapable of taking personal responsibility for themselves. hmm
in short - we lay the blame for failure at someone else's door, but the responsibility for success is your own. while at the same time still being responsible for the failure of others.

kim147 Thu 25-Jul-13 13:11:02

From an ONS report on wealth distribution:

"The bottom 50% of households in Britain have just £4,400 of cash, property and pensions compared to the £1.2m held by the top 10%, according to an Office for National Statistics report which lays bare the vast disparities in wealth across the UK.

The top 10% of households are now 850 times wealthier than the bottom 10%, the ONS said. It also revealed that half of UK households have just £400 in net cash at hand, compared to the £123,200 in cash balances typically held by the top 10% of households."

A bit of a contrast between top and bottom. I'm really surprised by the figure that half the country has £400 net cash in hand compared to the top 10% who have over £100,000 in cash.

That's a lot of people who work who have nothing.

We're all in it together. confused

curlew Thu 25-Jul-13 13:20:37

"My issue is that there’s no such thing as personal responsibility any more. Or actually, the less you have, the less responsibility you apparently have to take. "

I remember when it was all fields round here, people left their doors open all night and girls who got pregnant were shunted off to the a magdalen a laundries. Happy days.........

ParanoidandAnxious Thu 25-Jul-13 13:32:03

So all these people having baby after baby they know they can't afford, expecting 'YOU' the taxpayer to pay for them - where are they? I don't know any of them. The vast majority of people I know who are struggling are doing so due to job loss, illness, alcoholism (so mental health), marriage breakup etc and they already had the children.

It makes me laugh that when 'child poverty' is discussed, feckless, scrounging families churning out baby after baby is immediately used as an excuse for it when in reality those cases are very few and far between.

ParanoidandAnxious Thu 25-Jul-13 13:33:48

Much, much easier to judge from the old ivory tower than to actually THINK about.

SwishSwoshSwoosh Thu 25-Jul-13 13:36:36

Wannabe - do you believe that everyone in the cabinet is there because they genuinely were the best for the job or because most of them went to Eton and know each other?

Many people in Britain still succeed through nepotism, through financial advantage etc. many people struggle to achieve due to not having connections or financial support. Why shouldn't those who succeed in part due to their random advantages help others? My own successes are a combination of my random advantages of birth and my utilisation of them, had I been born richer or poorer my life would have been different. Surely you understand that people can not exist outside the society in which they were born, they do not exist in a vacuum.

Darkesteyes Thu 25-Jul-13 14:42:23

Nerfmother my local paper has done the same sort of thing too a couple of times. These local rags are trying to be the Daily Mail.

MiniTheMinx Thu 25-Jul-13 15:36:08

I'm struggling to understand the position that some people shouldn't have children because they are in poverty.

If you have less children overall, less people and therefore less demand for services and commodities you end up with not just a shrinking population but a shrinking economy in terms of GDP. You still end up with the same percentage of people in the bottom 25% or living in relative poverty. The answer isn't to prevent poorer sections of society from having children because that will in the short term negatively effect our own material wealth but also because it doesn't actually alleviate poverty. In fact it could be argued that the largest bulk of state welfare goes directly to corporate interests, the rest indirectly through spending. That includes the spending of even the very poorest on welfare.

The only way to alleviate poverty that doesn't negatively effect the size of the economy and generates demand and therefore jobs, is to tackle income inequality through pre-distribution. Businesses must be compelled to share a larger percentage of the value workers create with those workers, we need wages not state welfare. We need less income inequality. No inequality=no poverty.

Viviennemary Thu 25-Jul-13 16:55:02

I for one think it is a total insult to people in countries in true poverty to come out with this glib statement. I;m afraid I don't believe that for a minute.

Nerfmother Thu 25-Jul-13 18:22:52

Darkest eyes - it doesn't help does it? There are uncomfortable questions across the board but singling out one or two extreme examples is a poor show.

filee777 Thu 25-Jul-13 18:33:30

It is a total insult, you can't say that poverty for one group of people is not having a carpet in their bedroom while for the other it is not having a meal for three days.

I happen to think first world poverty does exist. Just not in this country.

filee So needing to rely on a food bank in order to eat isn't poverty?

kim147 Thu 25-Jul-13 18:40:45

Food banks
Not being able to pay for utilities
Parents (usually mums) going hungry so there children can eat.
Children coming to school hungry.
Going to pay day lenders when you can't afford to fix your fridge or pay bills.

That is what poverty is like in this country. No, it's not what you get in other countries but if you are in this country and you are in this situation, that is your poverty.

And a lot of families live like this.

kim147 Thu 25-Jul-13 18:41:54

Not being able to buy shoes or clothes when the children grow.

Heat a house or eat.

Twattybollocks Thu 25-Jul-13 18:46:23

I've seen kids with the toes cut out of their shoes to make them last until payday (or sometimes the next payday) Kids wearing clothes with holes in, wearing their school uniforms at the weekend because its all they have. Kids coming to school hungry when the last meal they had is school dinner the previous day, not because their parents haven't bothered to feed them, but because they haven't any food to put on the table. Stained clothes because they have run out of washing powder so the clothes go in the washer without.
I am from a very deprived area.

peteypiranha Thu 25-Jul-13 18:48:07

It depends on the area. Where I am its often the fault of the parents eg they dont want to be apart from their children, wont use childcare, dont stick at jobs etc. This is true of both mums and dads. No one wants to do any work, or work more than 16 hours, no ambition etc. Not all families are like that, but a lot I encounter are like this.

olidusUrsus Thu 25-Jul-13 18:49:26

My ward is at 13%, the other side of the city has ward at 33 and 36%! Going the other way, the posher wards are at 3 and 4%. Am actually a little shocked at the differences.

Twirlyhot Thu 25-Jul-13 18:55:59

Mine is at 1%. I'm actually surprised that the relatively poorest area nearby is under 25% on the Poverty at Ward Level map.

My ward is 52% of children in poverty. I know that our school has 78% of children living in poverty (my son's primary) because it was in the local news because of a scheme set up. My own DCs were in that category and we are very lucky to have recently escaped that but times are still tough. I know for a fact that some chikdren living near us are going hungry and without food for days at a time because of the holidays.

BookFairy Thu 25-Jul-13 18:59:15

I work with young people under 25. Many of them are scraping about for pennies as they have no parents to fall back on. They live in temporary accommodation as private rentals and deposits are too expensive. They have very few possessions and struggle to afford smart clothes for job interviews. They are invisible to people like filee and society as a whole. Those who don't know such poverty and loneliness should count themselves lucky. I link up with foodbanks for work. They are run by incredible volunteers. Most provide 7 days worth of basics, several times a year per client. The level of need is astonishing. It makes me sad and angry that people care more for gushing over those with many, than looking out for those who have none.

Twirlyhot Thu 25-Jul-13 19:00:37

What's truly scary is, the closer in to London you get, there are areas where the lowest figure is 30% AND the cheapest two bed flat would set you back over £200k.

It's 19% in our affluent looking area. I am not surprised - DS goes to the lovely caring village school, rather than the church school that the naice families flock to.

I am often saddened by the lives of some of the families and how they struggle to keep their heads above water.

PresidentServalan Thu 25-Jul-13 19:52:59

So if it bothers you, do something about it. Surely someone could come up with practical help in their area etc? The Govt can't be expected to pay for everyone without raising taxes, and why should everyone have to be affected?

BookFairy Thu 25-Jul-13 20:12:35

I already do smile
If they disclosed the exact amount of public money spent on keeping the royals in the lifestyle to which they have become accustomed, we could all be better off.

HappyMummyOfOne Thu 25-Jul-13 20:20:10

Twatty, if thats true then i would question what the parents are doing with the CB and CTC not to mention why they are not changing the situation for their children.

Its not the states fault, benefits are already generous to the point that they have had to be capped. Easier to blame the state and others than to expect people to be responsible for their own choices and decisions.

BookFairy Thu 25-Jul-13 20:25:39

Happy What about the "working poor"? Full time hours at minimum wage equates to approx £12-13,000 per year. Letting agents and private landlords charge what they like for deposits/rent. Every month many households spend more than half of their take home pay on rent. Food is more expensive. Public transport is more expensive. Don't just benefit bash.

PresidentServalan Thu 25-Jul-13 20:26:14

The royals also bring money in with tourism etc. I'm not their greatest fan but it is a fact. The Govt helps people support their families, but people are also responsible for their own lives - I know some people suffer through change of circumstances which is grim (and could happen to anyone) but it is not responsible to add to your family when you are already skint and just expect everyone else to pay. This is what takes money from the genuinely deserving cases.

FreedomOfTheTess Thu 25-Jul-13 20:35:55

Of the 20 most visited UK tourist attractions, only one of them is a royal residence, and that's Windsor Castle at #17. It was comfortably beaten by another Windsor attraction, Legoland in at #7.

Income generated from royal residences is less than 1% of the money this country makes from tourism. Less than 1%.

So the tourism thing is a complete MYTH.

See the Republic website to see more myths about the royal family debunked.

Caster8 Thu 25-Jul-13 20:36:47

Glad that different methods are going to be looked at, to measure it.

FreedomOfTheTess Thu 25-Jul-13 20:37:38

Oh and I meant to say, these facts and figures (which are from reports by the British Tourism Board) clearly show, tourism would survive without the royals, given that over 99% of our tourism is from non-royal residences!

From wikipedia-
"During 2007, 993,000 tourists visited the castle. This has had to be achieved in co-ordination with security issues and the castle's role as a working royal palace"

The Palace at Versailles had six million visitors over the same time period.

olidusUrsus Thu 25-Jul-13 20:42:40

There's some evidence to say we would make more from tourism if we didn't have a monarchy. The London Dungeons is one of the most popular tourist attractions. So, it's likely that if we didn't have a monarchy and we opened up Buckingham and Windsor and let the public essentially have free reign and a bit of a snoop, we'd be able to charge admission and create more revenue.

Can't find the thing I read atm, apologise. It is available online somewhere

olidusUrsus Thu 25-Jul-13 20:43:25

Yy Beyond and Freedom. Exactly.

Also I typo'd, apologies not apologise...

WineNot Thu 25-Jul-13 20:43:34

What's the UK's top tourist attraction (genuine question)?

handcream Thu 25-Jul-13 20:45:06

What is a living wage? Of course food, shelter and being warm are a necessity. What about the people who use their money for other things?

olidusUrsus Thu 25-Jul-13 20:47:40

I think it was and still is the British Museum, Wine

handcream Thu 25-Jul-13 20:48:30

My Dm who still volunteers in her Inner London school sees it time and time again. Parents putting their own needs before their children. Sending them to school unwashed and without breakfast because they are still in bed themselves.

Offering more money to families like this isnt going to change things. We need to make it unacceptable that you spend money on yourself (including drugs and drink) before to take the needs of your children into account

FreedomOfTheTess Thu 25-Jul-13 20:49:10

WineNot - it's the Tower of London, which of course holds the Crown Jewels, but as it's not OCCUPIED by royalty it's not classified as a royal residence.

It's a royal palace, of course, but it hasn't been lived in by royalty for hundreds of years.

The fact it's now freely open to the public, means it can generate MORE income.

Basically, as olidusUrsus said, we'd probably make MORE money without royalty living in places like Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace, as they could be open up to the public all the time!

olidusUrsus Thu 25-Jul-13 20:50:46

Sorry, Freedom and I have given different answers: Tower of London is the most popular paid attraction (admissions just under 2mil), but the British Museum is the most popular free attraction and gets the most footfall (admissions almost 6mil)

Viviennemary Thu 25-Jul-13 20:50:47

I am glad people are actually quoting facts and figures about that tired old myth that the royals bring countless millions to the country through tourism. Edinburgh does very nicely for tourism and the Queen might be at her royal residence there a week or two a year. And why have they had a pay rise of !0% when rises for civil servants are capped at 1%. This country will never be fair as long as the royals exist and we are forced to support them financially. That's my opinion on the matter.

FreedomOfTheTess Thu 25-Jul-13 20:51:06

Oops - yes OldusUrsus is right - it's the British Museum.

I'm looking at the list of historic sites.

NB: Even the bulk of the most historic sites are not connected to royalty!

olidusUrsus Thu 25-Jul-13 20:51:43

Sorry, just OVER 2 mil at 2.5. British Museum was 5.8 mil.

Sodding fingers

olidusUrsus Thu 25-Jul-13 20:52:52

We were both right Freedom, just in our own special ways wink

mumblechum1 Thu 25-Jul-13 20:58:49

0% here.

I'm with Wannabe on the fact that no parent should purposely bring a child into the world if they know that they are going to live in serious poverty. It's just cruel.

peteypiranha Thu 25-Jul-13 21:05:15

I agree with handcream, money does not help dysfunctional families.

handcream Thu 25-Jul-13 21:10:47

It comes back to personal decisions again. But of course someone will say that they dont know what they are doing, need to be supported and given chance after chance. Benefits have just been capped and there is a lot of support for it. Rewarding poor choices especially around the issue of having children you can ill afford is not helping anyone.

MiniTheMinx Fri 26-Jul-13 09:57:45

Rewarding poor choices especially around the issue of having children you can ill afford is not helping anyone

If people are being REWARDED for having children, then none would be living in poverty.

Non working adults be they SAHP, unemployed or people with disabilities are all consumers, and as we know raising children is an expensive business because they too are consumers.

Now, if workers and non-workers all have less money in wages and benefits, then there is less demand for the goods and services YOU create with your labour, so be careful what you wish for.

handcream in my area (52% born into poverty) I know that most of my neighbours and people I know who have recently given birth or are pregnant that a lot of them have not directly decided to give birth to a child within poverty. Many had partners leave them as a result of pregnancy (we have one of the highest rates for children being born into single parent families, as an example) which is hardly a choice.

It's not rewarding poor choices, it's ensuring that children born into poverty can survive and live an okay life (although, having been one of those people who made 'poor choices'- when my ex disappeared when I found I was oregnant with my third, also coinciding with being made redundant just a few weeks after I found out I was pregnant, although they obviously didn't know I was pregnant, it meant that I gave birth to a child in poverty and plunged my eldest two into poverty, I can say that benefits ensured our survival but little else).

grumpyoldbat Fri 26-Jul-13 10:56:44

I live in the UK, always have. At one point I lost everything. I had nowhere to live, I was going without food, I became ill due to malnutrition.

I found it a horrible experience. Obviously though it was unreasonable of me to find that horrible because others are worse off. Someone's broken leg isn't going to hurt less because someone has broken both of theirs.

Obviously I express my apologies to those who are perfect and will never experience bad luck. It was obviously incredibly irresponsible of me to be made redundant.

olidusUrsus Fri 26-Jul-13 11:16:16

grumpyoldbat sad. Cannot believe how much talk there is of people bringing it on themselves. It could happen to any one of us, without warning or time to prepare. I hope you're back on your feet.

handcream Fri 26-Jul-13 11:17:46

Whether we class them as living in poverty is not the point I am making. I am saying that the more children you have when not working the more you get. Now, you wont be living the life of riley, however you will get more money for additional children.

grumpyoldbat Fri 26-Jul-13 11:23:50

I'm no longer at rock bottom thanks olidus. However it is a very steep and slippery slope back up. We have a progress plan but are currently very low paid, topped up with TC. Sadly to many that makes me worthless, lazy, scum of the earth. In many ways it's more depressing than the poverty.

Caster8 Fri 26-Jul-13 11:29:40

When you were going without food, grumpy, did you have no money coming in at all? How long did you go without food for?
I could be wrong,but were you not entitled to anything from the Government? you dont have to answer if you dont want to.

"At one point I lost everything. I had nowhere to live, I was going without food, I became ill due to malnutrition."

It can happen far too easily can't it? Luckily I've only experienced either homelessness or no money for food, rather than both simultaneously. Even so, it was horrible, wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.

handcream Fri 26-Jul-13 11:53:09

Magic - having a child with someone who then leaves you IS a poor choice. If we took that view on everything we did, ie I brought some shares and they ended up being worthless - its not my fault, someone told me they were a sure thing doesnt mean you get all your money back.

You choose to leave school with no qualifications - whose choice is that. I feel we are making excuse after excuse for people. You choose to stay in one area of the country because you have your family around you. Thats a choice. Its a choice we all make depending on what we want to do but no one is forcing you into it.

grumpyoldbat Fri 26-Jul-13 11:57:39

No money coming in at all. Had gone to the job centre in tears the day I was made redundant. The man was horrible, condescending and told me there was no point applying as I wasn't entitled to anything and didn't deserve it. I was so beaten down, depressed and had no knowledge of the system at the time I didn't fight it. Tried to live off savings but they quickly so I fed my DC instead of me to make them last longer.

Took me 7 months to get a job but it was low paid and was in debt by then (was desperate and not thinking clearly). We camped out at different relatives for 9mon, 6 month in council temp accommodation ( lovely HV found right people to speak to). We now rent a small flat.

Food wise survived on water and scraps from DC's plates topped up with free samples and hospitality snacks I came across whip job hunting. Gradually worked up to eating normally via 3 meals a week then one small meal a day. In total it was 18 Mon to 2 year before I got back to both am adequate calorie intake an proper nutritional balance.

"More than half of children and working-age adults in poverty now live in working households. This is hard to fathom. It’s a total of 6.1 million people, made up of 2 million children and 4.1 million working-age adults – a million more people than are in poverty in workless households."

From Joseph Rowntree Foundation, there are solutions out there.

Caster8 Fri 26-Jul-13 13:35:42

Sorry to hear what you suffered grumpyoldbat. sad
So you were really entitled to all sorts?

grumpyoldbat Fri 26-Jul-13 14:10:54

At the very least I was entitled to contribution based job seekers. Although I had only been in the position I was made redundant from for 11 months I had been working constantly and paying tax and NI for 14 years.

I believe once my savings fell below a certain level I'd have been entitled to claim tax credits too.

The CBJSA would have acted as a bit of a buffer and helped my savings last a bit longer too.

Probably still have lost the house but we'd have had proper help and advice sooner if we'd been in the system I believe.

The thing is though if I had claimed there would be people considering even more scum than they already do. That's the worst thing about poverty, the disgust and distain some people feel it allows them to treat you with. The horrible and untrue assumptions they make about you and worse, about your children. For me that is what has had the greatest impact.

angelos02 Fri 26-Jul-13 14:25:41

I just never understand it when people are already in financial dire straits and then think its a acceptable to bring a child/children into that. Not talking about people that fall on hard times. I'm referring to those that already can't afford to look after themselves.

grumpyoldbat Fri 26-Jul-13 14:34:41

We lost everything after dd was born. I doubt very much I was physically capable of falling pregnant when things were at there worst. Especially when you take stress and nutrition into account, it would certainly have impacted on my chances of having a full term healthy birth. My periods went haywire for a bit.

handcream Fri 26-Jul-13 14:40:26

But they dont really believe they cannot afford it when they have another child. If you arent working you arent actually paying for any of your choices. Someone else is. They make a poor choice and dont see it as their issue. I fell pregnant. I knew this chap for a couple of months. He promised me this and that and then disappeared when I said I was pregnant because I really loved him (after 2 months!).

They might complain they are not receiving enough but enough for what and what are their expectations?

MiniTheMinx Fri 26-Jul-13 14:52:46

angelos02, the number of people living in poverty is growing and as TapselteerieO makes clear from her link, "More than half of children and working-age adults in poverty now live in working households" this isn't about a few lazy, less aspiring, less lucky or less clever people choosing to have children in poverty. In the last 30 years the gap btw rich and poor has widened, continues to widen and the result is that many working people and their children now live in poverty.

Having children is not a life style choice in the same way as trading in your banger for a new car or getting into debt to go on holidays. There is an acknowledgement even from our policy makers that being childless when you would prefer not to be, impacts negatively on peoples lives. So two cycles of IVF are made available on the NHS. Do you not see that there is a certain contradiction here, not having children can mean women might feel unfulfilled, so all those middle class women who left it late must have tax payers money pay for their reckless dillydallying, whilst those feckless poor women must be scorned, must be denied the joy of having a child and should they dare to must be punished along with their children.

The widening gap btw rich and poor is at the root of ALL poverty in the western world.

kim147 Fri 26-Jul-13 15:02:03

The gap is massive.

A very small percentage of people in this country have a lot of the wealth.

And half the people in this country have next to nothing except debt.

You can almost see why revolutions happen when the gap is so wide.

HappyMummyOfOne Fri 26-Jul-13 15:13:35

It would be interesting to see how many of those households have two full time working parents and those where people do part time, both do part time or one is a SAHP claiming top up benefits. I dont think you can class every working household as aspiring or not lazy.

Of course having children is a lifestyle choice. Nobody is made to have them by the state and any responsible parent checks their income, factors in the expenses of childcare etc before proceeding. Sadly, many dont as they like handcream says they are not paying for them anyway and it means an increase in their money for every child. Hence the government capping benefits now to a maximum amount. Still way to high but a start.

MiniTheMinx Fri 26-Jul-13 15:15:31

People riot for bread. Every revolution starts not because of ideological concerns but because of the material conditions of peoples lives.

MiniTheMinx Fri 26-Jul-13 15:16:47

I assume you have just one, HappyMummyof, can I ask why?

Caster8 Fri 26-Jul-13 15:26:09

"The widening gap between rich and poor is at the root of ALL poverty in the western world".
I would have to disagree with that.
Depends how poverty is measured, but some people as handcream says, do make poor life choices. Some people, not all by a long way, can have millions[think some lottery winners for example], and still manage to end up with nothing within 5 years.

grumpyoldbat Fri 26-Jul-13 15:53:08

Because some people make bad, selfish choices doesn't mean every poor person deserves to be treated with derision.

The vast majority of people in the world make their best effort to make the best decisions they can based on the information they have at the time. Sometimes further information comes to light that means it wasn't a good decision. Sadly the information often comes too late to make changes. Normal human beings don't have crystal halls.

You can make a decision based on having what seems to be a secure well paying job, a safety net of savings then one day you're called into the office and you're out of a job then your savings hit the slippery slope trying to survive while you find a job in a market in a much worse state than when you last looked

You can make decisions based on being a couple both in secure jobs then one of you dies of a previously undiagnosed condition or an accident not of your making.

You can make a decision based on being in a secure loving relationship with a decent man. Then when pregnant he slowly changes, becomes increasingly abusive so you eventually leave before he kills you
Pregnancy is a well recognised trigger for domestic abuse, just ask woman's aid. Often there will be no obvious sign he will be that way, by the time the woman knows she is pregnant or a new mum. So tell me why is she irresponsible and a maker of poor decisions and not the man who beat her.

These are just a few examples of how a person's life can turn on a pinhead. As much as people would like to believe it's not just something that happens to other people who are stupid, selfish and make bad decisions all the time. It can happen to ANYONE, literally anyone.

I wouldn't wish it on anyone but people need to learn that sad but TRUE fact and learn a little humility, learn not to make nasty assumptions about people worse off than yourself because most of the time you won't even know half the story of how they got there.

I've come across some awful selfish, cruel parents but they come from all walks of life. It is not poverty that has made them bad parents, they just are.

Darkesteyes Fri 26-Jul-13 16:23:11

So tell me why is she irresponsible and a maker of poor decisions and not the man who beat her

This is down to mysogyny grumpy You often find it goes hand in hand with poor bashing. (Woman magazine are incredibly good at this with thier "articles" on single mums. If they ever do an article on single dads they will be hero worshipped to reflect the fact that the hero worshipping of single dads is just as true as the vilifying of single mums.
Im sorry to hear what you have been through grumpy And for such a long time too. I sincerely hope it hasnt affected your long term health. brew

Dahlen Fri 26-Jul-13 16:29:08

HappyMummyOfOne - it's fine line between saying "responsible parents only have children when they can afford it" and saying "only the rich should be allowed to breed".

Truth is that probably only the top 25% of the country would be able to have children without state financial assistance thrown into the family pot.

You may think that's a good thing, but it would store up one hell of a pensions crisis and I can't see many of those children being happy to clean toilets on NMW, and yet someone will have to do it...

I agree it's irresponsible to purposely have additional children in a busy household where resources are already stretched to breaking point, but the number of families where that is actually the case is quite small and some people would never have children if they waited to reach a point where they could afford it without help from CB and tax credits (in fact, the majority of the working population in fact).

MiniTheMinx Fri 26-Jul-13 16:47:25


I agree, some people can start the day with a huge wad of money and end it broke but those that have capital and invest have the basis on which to build more capital on that investment. Most people sell their labour, it is the only commodity they have that they can renew and sell the following day. Over the last 30 years workers have seen their share of the wealth created through their labour fall whilst the capitalist has seen his rise. This creates a situation where increasingly work doesn't pay, governments step in with benefits such as TC to make up the short fall. Or they step in with out of work benefits. This is an indirect subsidy to the capitalist and allows him to wash his hand of his social responsibility. Of course if we all have less to spend, if we all have less children, if we all take home less and less, the demand for services and goods also diminishes, thus putting more people out of work. But don't despair.........more unemployment exacts pressure upon wages and ensures that workers will continue to work for peanuts whilst lining the pockets of the rich. We really are fucked, not just you and me and all those children living in poverty but also the very people that get rich from this system that creates inequality, because if they have the money, and they can't find areas to invest they too are fucked.

We need pre-distribution, increased spending power in the real economy which generates demand, creates jobs and ensures that money isn't hoarded but spent. It isn't the amount of money in the economy but the frequency with which it is exchanged. If workers and even non-workers have more money, they acquire the commodities that sustain life. To say that someone who has children is a drain and not a net benefit to the economy is a nonsense. All consumers are beneficial. To think that government spending could be put to better use is to overlook the fact that the corporations and private businesses are also beneficiaries of welfare, both direct and indirect.

handcream Fri 26-Jul-13 17:30:55

I am going to be harsh here and say we have a free choice in this country to have as many children as you want by whomever you want. Other countries and cultures are not given so much freedom.

Consequently if you choose a partner unwisely and ignore the 'red flags' due to lack of education or just because you dont know any better how on earth will you then teach people to make better decisions next time! I am not just talking about having children by a man that turns out to be abusive but ALL our choices.

During my school years I had a Saturday job. I liked it but didnt like the pay and aspirations. I wanted something better. Luckily living in London options were available to me. Some people choose not to live where there are jobs. Their decision, of course. No one is forcing them to take a low paid role (and in some instances its better that they dont) when they have children and again choose their partner unwisely and he leaves them. Its better for them to be on benefits because they have low aspirations and couldnt demand a better salary.

No one has FORCED them to do all of this. But we cannot then allow them to step back and take no responsibility for their decisions.

They were their decisions. Not mine or yours.

Caster8 Fri 26-Jul-13 17:43:55

Although that was a long answer, mini, I think it is a bit too simplistic!

The world os a ginormous place. Saying that ultimately rich people will have nowhere to invest is ridiculous.

And of course more and more children can be a drain on the earth, in many more ways than one.
To take it to its ultimate conclusion, if you filled the entire earth with children, that is not exactly helpful is it? Couldnt possibly feed them all, for a start.

I think you are a communist? The properly only communist state left is N Korea is it not? Not exactly a rip roaring success. And S Korea and its neighbours are scared stiff of the N Korea population coming out of N Korea, They allegedly are malnourished and uneducated in the main. 20 million of them.

MiniTheMinx Fri 26-Jul-13 18:15:32

If my last post makes me a communist then I guess the whole of the UK and even the States btw the years 1945-1979 were communist then.

My suggestions are falling far short of communism. N Korea is an abysmal blot on the landscape but the situation is largely misunderstood because of the elite control over western media, so it is difficult to have an open debate about it which doesn't end in people quoting the mainstream press as though it were there own opinion.

The world is of course huge, and one of the biggest problems is that the UK is a mature economy. We were the first to develop modern production methods and exploit the rest of the globe. Export of goods isn't new, neither is export of investment. However now things are quite critical because most dominant commercial enterprise can be traced to less than ten corporations. We no longer have a "labour aristocracy" of well trained, well paid people. Instead we have de-skilled and underpaid people. This means two things: less investment into jobs (even though we will eventually compete in terms of low pay) and even less effective consumer demand in the West.

Of course we could all just sit on our hands moaning about feckless dole bludgers and people who lack aspiration or we could actually start to analyse the economic conditions that have led us to this point and see what can be done. There are not enough jobs, those that exists are paying wages not sufficient to keep a family without state subsidy.

Caster8 Fri 26-Jul-13 18:25:44

I thought you have posted else where that you were. My mistake, I'm sorry.

There are a small number of people escaping form N Korea, so I dont think you can dismiss what they are saying is heppening there.

10 corporations. Is that true? You could be right for all I know but doesnt sound right. Care to list them?

Totally agree with you about not enough jobs. I think mechanisation put paid to most of them.

grumpyoldbat Fri 26-Jul-13 18:37:52

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

FasterStronger Fri 26-Jul-13 18:52:27

the amount of work performed in the household does have a large effect on child poverty:

1) "In 2009/10, 42 per cent of all families below the UK poverty line contained no working members"

2) "Households where only one adult works are at a much higher risk of poverty than average."

MiniTheMinx Fri 26-Jul-13 18:53:30

I am but I am not a big state ideologue. Communism is a divisive term isn't it, I am not arguing for communism here, I am arguing that if we have too much wealth inequality then the wheels come off of the system. The only thing that stands between you and communism isn't the capitalist, but what you do. If we allow the inequality to continue then the system will fail. Only in rebalancing the scales can we save it. If I have all the money and most of the food that you need, you can not purchase the food. I will not employ you because I need to make money from my rotting vegetables, until I have sold those, I will not invest in the production of more! So I have the money, you have none and your needs go unmet and my need to find profitable outlay for my money is unmet. The only way of ensuring that people are lifted out of poverty is to ensure that we address wealth and income inequality.

Of course the natural tendency under capitalism is accumulation and imperialism, which means that we always have to actively fight to rebalance the scales. This is where politics and economics come together. Politics, anecdote, ideology, personal opinion and bias are not enough to solve the problems, we need an understanding of economics. this shows the links btw corporations.

MiniTheMinx Fri 26-Jul-13 18:55:23

oh Grumpy sad

I am very certain that many people who find themselves poor feel shame, for they are MADE to feel shame.

I am sad reading your posts and I so hope things are better for you now.

No government system as been truly communist, just totalitarian under the name, many socialist countries are doing very well and really, has capitalism done much better for the majority of people? It's an extortionate system that is all about keeping power and status in a small group of hands to the harm - and deaths - of others. But at least some people can be comfortable while ignoring that.

This whole bootstraps choices thing is noneness, is myth of disgusting morals where ones value is on how well and how much one produces for the consumption of others ignoring any innate value of a being at all (which makes sense for those in power, though hardly matches most religious values). A tale where we have complete control over every facet of our lives and should be blamed and punished for anything we allow to go wrong. Very vicious, unforgiving mindset.

And the increased population has far more to do with living longer than making babies, the death rate just hasn't caught up yet (though that is increasing in many places, including in the UK). It will level out around 9 billion in 2050 by the United Nations numbers - the same stats which say we already make enough food for 11 billion people. We have plenty of resources when managed well, just the capitalist system benefits from taking extortionate amounts and making large amounts of money through the current trade system rather than real distribution for the good of people - because the trade system only sees the value of money and only those with it, not people themselves. It's a vicious system based on power and status and needs to be challenged and reformed. How anyone could support such a system that overlooks deaths for profits is beyond me.

HappyMummyOfOne Fri 26-Jul-13 19:19:25

Fasterstronger, not surprising those stats really and both show that "poverty" is down to not working or expecting one salary to cover numerous people. Dislike the use of the word poverty in the UK as benefits ensure people have a roof and food unlike many countries.

Mini, not sure why its relevant that I only have one child. I can have my own opinion whether i have none, one or ten children.

grumpyoldbat Fri 26-Jul-13 19:26:06

happy you have a very narrow view of poverty. Household who are unemployed, only one adult or low paid are not necessarily that way by choice. When a choice has been made it is from a narrow range of options that are restricted by external factors. Eg chose a low paid job over remaining unemployed. One parent stay at home rather than put a disabled child/other relative in care etc.

MiniTheMinx Fri 26-Jul-13 20:09:43

HappyMummyOfOne, just wondered. Two aren't always twice the price! Plus there is something in the name, perhaps that's why I ask.

I have two but then I can afford them, which is partly why I am not bitter about how many children other people choose to have. I am quite dispassionate about the personal circs of other people but taken collectively it can only be concluded that raising children in poverty, with low expectations and even fewer opportunities will drive this country to the wall. What we need is skilled, motivated and healthy workers of tomorrow. Not lots of sickly young adults with rickets and no ambition beyond picking up dole. Punishing the poor and making people feel they have little value and nothing to contribute, denying people free access and opportunities to things we??? take for granted will ensure a perpetual decline in everyone's living standards in the UK, yours and mine incl.

Caster8 Fri 26-Jul-13 20:27:42

Ah, you were hiding it Mini.

I agree that a big wealth divide is never a good thing for a country. But there is alwasy going to be some divide.

Cant say I agree with you on the rest of your post though.

handcream Fri 26-Jul-13 20:36:23

Where has rickets come..... No one is suggesting this but people DO need to take personal responsibility for their own decisions. They are more than willing to blame others and many on this thread are prepared to make excuses as to why they make the poor decisions they do.

If you cannot afford to have children then you need to restrict your family. Living off benefits is no life for them or you. We restricted our family because we wanted certain things from life, why is that so hard for others to grasp.

Why is this country denying free access - to what? We are all able to have an education paid for by taxes. We make the most of that opportunity or we dont (your choice).

No one is punishing the poor but IMHO it shouldnt be particularly easy and comfortable to live off benefits and not work. If it is why on earth would you want to work.

handcream Fri 26-Jul-13 20:38:04

Someone has also mentioned the word communism. It doesnt work. Idealist nonsense... North Korea anyone?

MiniTheMinx Fri 26-Jul-13 20:50:56

No, not hiding it smile just making the point that tackling wealth inequality under capitalism isn't advocating communism. Instead if anything it allows the sort of rebalancing of the scales that we saw under the period after the war when wages and employment prospects improved for the many.

The elephant in the room is the fact that people have swallowed whole the ideologies of neo-liberalism, (without realising) and think that wealth trickles down. It doesn't. We now have a failing economy, a vastly indebted state and a rising tide of poverty even where people work.

The state is proportionate in size to the need to maintain the system that perpetuates the inequality but also to mitigate against the worst effects of the inequality it actively encourages.

The state is the size it is not because of feckless lazy people but because of the inequality capitalism creates, A)protect private property and business B)mop up the bloody social and human mess this makes.

The state has a duel purpose, upholding class power and privilege whilst also mopping up the mess that such a system showers upon those who are the victims. That is why we need honest sensible debate, not just about what we personally think about Mrs smith with ten children round the corner, but about how simple economic truths can be ignored in favour of elite brainwashing and lies.

HappyMummyOfOne Fri 26-Jul-13 20:52:26

"Two arent always twice the price" mmm unless its bogof in clothes, childcare, school trips etc its fair to say that with every child comes an extra cost on the household. Too many already spout that babies need nothing but milk and warmth but the reality is very different.

I dont begrudge anybody having any number of children as long as they are picking up the cost themselves and have savings/insurance should something happen. No different to anything else they chose to spend their money on.

I do believe its wrong to choose to have a child/more children knowing you expect others to pay for them. Whilst we need some children we need them to be tax payers and if there is no work ethic in the house and they see you can stay home and have money handed to you the chances are they will simply follow the path their parents chose.

I would how much the birth rate would fall if there were no child related benefits? A lot im guessing as teens would think twice, no more having another to stay on IS and perhaps peoples choices would be more thought through.

handcream Fri 26-Jul-13 21:01:19

I agree with Happy. Two is of course more than one. The biggest cost being childcare. Of course if you are not planning to work then it wont cost anything.

grumpyoldbat Fri 26-Jul-13 21:52:31

She said 2 children don't cost exactly double not that they don't cost more. That's due to hand me downs in terms of clothes and toys. I think you'll find she was referring to overall costs of children not the cost of child care alone.

So is there ever going to be a point when I have had enough punishment? Is there any more I need to do in penance for offending you with my irresponsible stupidity? Will I ever deserve to have nice things happen or will I be forever scum. Have my children already been written off?

MiniTheMinx Fri 26-Jul-13 21:57:26

I have two, I have worked and I have at times paid for childcare at other times not. Two children is not double the cost.

If you both have to work full time in order to eat and thus having to leave your children in full time childcare, you might find that others have an opinion of your personal choices too. But think about it, why do you both have to work? why is one income not enough?

Caster8 Fri 26-Jul-13 22:10:29

I dont think one income is enough, because if there is more income, ie 2 lots sloshing around, then people are going to be able to charge more, hence house prices rise.

No I dont think wealth has to trickle down at all.

Sorry, I cant be bothered to go through why communism, or wealth redistributions or whatever words you want to use, wont work.

I thik the state is the sixe it is because successive Governemtns, and I dont care which colour they have been wanted to buy votes.

From what I have seen of your previous posts, I think that your heart is in the right place. just not your ideologies! smile

kim147 Fri 26-Jul-13 22:24:02

I think housing costs need to be addressed - but of course, if house prices fall, that's going to cause issues for people who own a house.

But there is a housing shortage in this country - and that is something that we can do something about.

I don't really see an issue with addressing the real low wage economy we have and looking at how the pay of those workers can be lifted through tax / NI expectations so they get more take home pay.

We really need some of the great social thinkers and reformers of the Victorian age like Rowntree around.

It's a hard society where people struggle to feed and cloth their children whilst most of the country's wealth and power is held by a few people.

And it's not one I particularly like to live in. Sometimes it feels like every person for themselves.

MiniTheMinx Fri 26-Jul-13 23:36:21

Well that's the kindest thing anyone has said to me for a long time grin there is nothing about morals or empathy in my arguments. I don't lose sleep but I have spent hours over the last few years studying economics. No amount of moral arguments work because those on the left can not lay claim to having "better morals" if anything those on the right are keen to moralise over poverty and the causes of it. I'm more interested not in ideologies (politics) but in economics (material) arguments. The one thing I agree with from the right, is the idea that welfare strips people of dignity and creates a dependency mindset. But that is immaterial if there are not enough jobs, or those that exist do not pay a living wage. It doesn't matter what those on benefit think, it matters whether they have opportunities to work. No use taking the horse to the river if the river has dried up!

You can't fulfil a requirement to apply for 20 jobs a day if only ten new vacancies exist, unless of course you apply twice just so you are not sanctioned by DWP. Its a time wasting excersise designed to demoralise the victim, like the Nazis making the Jews scrub pavements with their beards. Nothing this government is implementing is about growth or putting people into work but all about moralising over the feckless poor, the wasteful eaters and their offspring.

This steaming pile of shit we call the free market is a very poor way in which to meet human need. Now, we can tinker around the edges as we did after the war and ensure that the very worst exploitation and impoverishment are prevented, or we can just allow the contradictions of capitalism to run their course. I prefer the latter its inevitable that it will fail under the weight of its own contradictions and faults. However I'm sure that most people would rather keep the patient alive ! which is why we need reform.

Caster8 Sat 27-Jul-13 07:48:07

I agree that the wealth divide has gone too far. Well, to me it is a matter that the very rich have got stinking rich, which as far as I know, has to hae an impact on everyone else. Though funnily enough, I see it that we and USA and other countries I suspect, are going more towards the communist model. That is how I see communism. Stinking stinking rich, and majority in poverty.

I agree that something needs to be done. Amongst systems I think. And really, naively maybe, I think is has to be Governments who change the systems, but the people need to be able to understand what is happening and cause a fuss.

But most times, the general public is either pretty clueless, or even worse, dont much care.

Agree about the job hunting lark. I was almost crying out at the tv to politicians, to help small businesses and entrepreneurialship, in the good times, well the so called good times. Sooo much harder to get and expect people to set up smaller businesses when times are harder, like they are now.

Dahlen Sat 27-Jul-13 16:33:27

So if it's just choices that affect people's outcomes, how come income and education are the two factors that have a direct influence on how well people fare in life? Surely if those factors were irrelevant and it was just down to people's choices, we would expect to see far more social mobility? We're not. As I pointed out earlier, research (including government's own) suggests otherwise.

Education is a big key to breaking that cycle. But to do that we need to make sure that the schools in the poorest areas are top notch. At the moment, being born into a deprived area all too often means taking the booby prize in the postcode lottery of education.

Education also begins at home. How are you supposed to make better decisions about your choice of partner if 'normal' in your family and social circle is a culture of DV, etc.

You can't blame people for making poor choices if they're not even aware they have a choice, let alone the means to take it. That's nasty, victim-blaming bollocks.

handcream Sat 27-Jul-13 19:35:53

I went to a rubbish school, I dont want that for my children hence we need the two salaries to afford private. My dh in particular didnt want to leave Cornwall where he grew up and his parents still live. He did because the opportunities werent there. Some choose to stay near family. Their choice.

It doesnt necesarily mean that if you go to a school with no aspirations for their pupils that some will not break the cycle anyway. I did. I knew London was the place for finding a job.

Some on this thread are distancing people from their choices and blaming the government, bankers etc or saying that cannot earn a living wage. What is a living wage. Surely we arent expecting companies to take the number of children each employee has and then pay they accordingly. Or what about people who choose to live in the middle of nowhere with no public transport. Should we pay them to run a car because they choose to live where they live and refuse to move?

I agree of course that we need to support the vunerable and disabled but not people who make daft decision time and time again.

handcream Sat 27-Jul-13 19:37:39

If some really feel that this country has let them down and that wealth needs to be distributed better - well communism is alive and well in other parts of the world -North Korea anyone?

JakeBullet Sat 27-Jul-13 19:44:45

But handcream surely a "living wage" is one which allows people to have the basics in life. So that's a roof over their head, enough food to heat plus the ability to pay essential bills like water, gas, electric etc.

The fact is that even on a moderate wage it is hard to meet the cost of just the basics. Rent/mortgage is stupidly high in the private sector.

I have relatives in Switzerland who don't receive any kind of benefits. Yet even in one of the most expensive countries they earn enough to put a roof over their heads and all live a good life. Some are business people but one is the equivalent of a support worker and she STILL earns enough to meet basic costs.

That is a living wage....not talking about luxuries. Fact is that in most cases a salary/wage should allow people to meet their basic needs. Yet in many cases it doesn't and they have to top it up with benefits. That is a disgrace.

I have no answers btw but just saying that it is not always about choices.

JakeBullet Sat 27-Jul-13 19:49:19

Then again my cousins need their good income, they have no NHS there. They were VERY impressed with the care my auntie received here when she was dying. Even with the fantastic private medical care they have, the care my aunt received could not have been matched in their aunt was simply supported to die at home with nurses and support staff coming in to help my Uncle. In Switzerland she would not have had that choice....but I digress. Just occurred to me how much we DO have here.

grumpyoldbat Sat 27-Jul-13 19:54:24

What people need to remember is that people can only make choices from the options available to them at the time. Not all options are available to all people at all times.

kim147 Sat 27-Jul-13 20:30:06

Surely a fairer income distribution does not mean communism.

Joseph Rowntree had the right idea when he saw the crap conditions his workers were in and did something about it. A happy workforce is also a productive and loyal one.

But treat them like crap with zero hours contract and minimum wage for a skilled job and you get what you deserve.

handcream Sat 27-Jul-13 20:50:28

I am still not clear what a 'living wage' means to some? For one person whithout children, a single parent with 2 children, a parent whose partner has just lost their job. I really struggle to see why companies need to concern themselves with what an employee has chosen to do with their life?

For example a single person living at home with parents working in a supermarket will need less I guess that someone who is the main wage earner in the family with two children?

I have got to disagree with grumpy though. 'People can only make choices from the options available to them at the time'.

Well, mess around at school and wriggle out of going wherever possible. That is a choice- make the most of the education or dont. Have a child with someone who you havent known long. There is a choice there too.

And please dont blame others for the decisions that people make of their own free well, maybe they have a strong peer group pressure, maybe they are uneducated and dont know any better. Anything rather than take the consequences of their actions. If we dont allow people to learn from their decisions it will not get any better.

The problem is that people are choosing unwisely and then complaining that they cannot achieve a 'living wage' or that childcare is too expensive and they can only gain a low paid job because they have little in the way of qualifications. Then of course there might be a absent father. None of these issues are anything to do with a company that employs that person IMHO.

kim147 Sat 27-Jul-13 20:54:33

Is the minimum wage enough for 1 person to live on in this society?

handcream Sat 27-Jul-13 21:09:50

It depends what circumstances that one person is in. If they are living at home and are young I would say yes, if they are not young and living at their childhood home again yes. If they are trying to support a family with no partner and little qualifications and no family to call upon for childcare whilst working on NMW then probably not and they would be better off on benefits.

Again what has the circumstances of one person got to do when a company is recruiting for a role? Do they pay more the more children they have for example?

kim147 Sat 27-Jul-13 21:14:39

I haven't read this report but will do

This is a report on the minimum income standard.

This is a campaign for a living wage.

JakeBullet Sat 27-Jul-13 21:41:31

Okay handcream, I have a friend who messed around at school, she truented frequently, was pregnant at 15 (and experienced a still birth at 8 months) drank to excess etc. she now lives on benefits in a two bedroom upper floor flat as a single parent.


She was systematically raped from the age of 8 by her mother's partner and others (and rape in all senses of the word).


Her mental health is fragile, she has undergone years and years of therapy to try and help herself come to terms with the abuse she experienced as a child. On bad days (lots of them) she simply cannot leave the flat.

Can you see how her "choices" as a teenager were perhaps influenced by her appalling circumstances? Choice implies that we all begin from a level playing field....sadly we don't.

And I still say that a living wage means enough to meet BASIC needs so that is a roof over the head, enough food to eat and the ability to heat a home and have water.

Many salaries do not cover even that.

grumpyoldbat Sat 27-Jul-13 21:43:38

People who don't go to school and have children young don't always make a completely free choice to do so. I know a lady in her 60s who is clever, well educated, well paid home owner yet 40 years ago she was an illiterate young Mum trapped in poverty. Since we are talking about choices I'll change her name to Sophie.

She came from a very big family (think double figures) not Sophie's choice. From her very first year at school her Mum only sent her when she felt like it. By 10 she had no confidence and was illiterate and at this point her Mum took her out of school completely to look after her siblings and the house. An awful choice but again not Sophie's.

At 15 she was raped by the neighbour's son and fell pregnant. I don't care what anyone says no one choses to be raped.

On her 16th birthday she was given a choice marry her rapist to save the family's reputation or be thrown out and her brothers sent to beat her up. She knew she wouldn't survive the beating so chose the marriage.

Her husband beat her, wouldn't let her make up for her lost education or use contraception. She could have chosen to leave but she knew her Dad would follow through on his threat, her husband told her he would seek her out and murder her and she was illiterate alone and scared.

When her DC started school she taught herself to read in secret. Her parents died and she finally plucked up the courage to leave. Sure enough he tracked her down and tried to kill her, ended up in prison.

She found what ever job she could to pay for her now 6 children's upkeep but she could only get low paid jobs but did everything she could for them.

She now has a degree and a good job, all 6 of her children are gainfully employed and her ex is back in prison for beating his new wife.

Personally I think she's worth all my admiration not a flaming for making poor choices because the choices she got to make as a teenager were no choices at all.

mumblechum1 Sat 27-Jul-13 21:49:08

Grumpy, that is so shocking! Did that happen in the UK? (Just asking as it sounds like the sort of thing that would happen in Pakistan or somewhere). Shocking wherever in the world it happened, though.

handcream Sat 27-Jul-13 21:59:44

I dont disbelieve these stories at all but they are extremes and not what I am talking about. I am talking about people who think the world owes them a living and who take and take without giving anything back, who know what they are 'entitled' to and who grab and grab.

They throw away chances and opportunties and then blame others , I am not daft enough to think that only I get a chance to make good decisions.

I have worked for years and know I will have to stay in the SE to continue with the role. If I choose to move then I will probably have to leave.

Without outing myself I know that the company I work for have a policy of 'no redundancies' not because they love us all but because there are protections in the pension scheme if they make anyone redundant and its too expensive for them. So they keep us and offer voluntary terms. As the company has a higher than normal age group people do end up leaving because the pressure and stress is too much for some people.

Dahlen Sat 27-Jul-13 22:03:20

They're not uncommon though handcream - do you know the child abuse figures in this country. Growing up in a happy, healthy home is nowhere near as common as you'd like to believe. sad

How do you tell the difference? There is no room on the job centre forms to tick: were you raped as a child? Mum regularly beaten by dad? Older sibling who had a drug problem? etc

MiniTheMinx Sat 27-Jul-13 22:13:52

handcream Children are not mature enough to make a choice to work hard at school when the culture at home is one of low aspiration. Children need discipline, encouragement and advice. They need consistency and lacking life experience they need good role models. To say "Well, mess around at school and wriggle out of going wherever possible. That is a choice- make the most of the education or don't" just shows an astounding level of ignorance.

Your post at 21:09:50, makes no sense what so ever.

"If they are trying to support a family with no partner and little qualifications and no family to call upon for childcare whilst working on NMW then probably not and they would be better off on benefits"

what does this even mean ? surely it is evident that if someone has very few qualifications they will be working for a lower wage. But a full time wage should pay sufficiently to keep a family (within reason)

Over the period 1945-1979 we had what is often referred to as imbedded liberalism. Left and right looked to the ideas of Keynes and other economists that advocated a greater share of GDP go on wages. Workers saw wages rise and living standards improve, new jobs were created, the modern welfare system was formed, many new technological advancements were made, many serious illnesses related to poverty were stamped out, grammar schools took the brightest working class children and for the first time ordinary working class people aspired to become "middle class" After 1979 when the witch stepped into number 10, we saw neo-liberal policy start to be introduced and ever since the gap btw rich and poor has been widening and the percentage of children living in poverty climbing to levels not seen since the start on the C20th

We live in a civilised society, the 7th ? richest country and yet 1:3 children are in poverty, we should all be ashamed. Politicians very much care what we think, that is why we are subjected to voodoo economic theory, lies, lies and more damn lies. We need to make corporations more socially responsible not just to polar bears and ice caps but to people and we need to make our elected politicians act in our interests, not in their own.

MiniTheMinx Sat 27-Jul-13 22:20:06

I'm in the south East too handcream wonderful place that it is hmm

Did you read last week that 1/3 of the UK is too expensive for anyone living on the average wage? all those jobs that benefit us and make our lives that little bit easier, necessitate low skilled, often poorly paid people and yet these people are having to move to areas where housing is cheap but there are very few jobs. In what way does a low wage economy with high housing costs benefit us?

kim147 Sat 27-Jul-13 22:26:41

But a full time wage should pay sufficiently to keep a family

This - but was it ever like this?

Back in the "old days", was it possible for 1 person to have a roof over their heads and support a typical family of say 2 children on 1 wage?

Caster8 Sat 27-Jul-13 22:34:37

That is the sort of thing I was wondering kim147. I think that back in the old days, housework was so much more labour intensive. Laundry all by hand, much larger families, little mechanisation, no electricity etc, so everything was much more labour intensive for the housewife that did it, so less hours in the day available for a woman to work outside the home, even if she wanted to or needed to.

Also the typical family wasnt 2 children. Depends how far back you mean though [remember the programme 2.4 children, late 80's?]

thechildrensparkle Sat 27-Jul-13 22:40:01

I haven't read all of this and apologies if repeating but I doubt the figure is as high for children born into stable long term relationships where they are planned. Dreadful that children are born into poverty but with free contraception it really doesn't have to happen. DH's grandad was born into poverty. He had two married parents and 10 siblings - he was sent down the mine on his 14th birthday. It made him determined to do better for his six children and every one went into some form of further education. The youngest is now 62.

Financial poverty isn't the problem; the poverty of moral boundaries and entitlement is the problem.

Lazyjaney Sat 27-Jul-13 22:55:01

The reason c 1 in 3 children are in poverty is we have set the dinition to be about 1 in 3 (strictly 60% of median income, ie 60% of 50% or 30%). Children are roughly equally spread out, so c 1 in 3.

Change the definition to 50% of median income and you get poverty down to 25% at a stroke.

AudrinaAdare Sat 27-Jul-13 22:59:28

I grew up in the seventies in a S.E new town. My Dad worked for Ford having been an evacuee from the East End, one of seven children and practically illiterate. He had had several apprenticeships all free of charge and there were lots of work-related benefits and incentives when employed by a big company.

If you lost a job on Friday morning you'd go to the labour exchange and they'd have one for you on the next Monday morning and you had a choice about what you wanted to do as well!

My parents bought a nice two-bed end-terrace (and put artexing and a porch on it) for 1.5 times my father's salary and my mother worked part-time for extras such as holidays hideous faux murano glass fish and piano lessons.

Within ten years they were in a four-bed in the most expensive area of my (commuter) town and he was a higher-rate tax payer despite no qualifications in one of those white-collar management non-jobs which could be had in those days if one was good at blagging / bullshitting.

Such economic good-fortune and social mobility is not possible now. He has always been very bitter about the additional opportunities granted to graduates and can't understand why I didn't enter the realms of HRT and a five-bed house as soon as I obtained my degree grin

kim147 Sat 27-Jul-13 23:02:33

Alter the definition of a statistic - are you a politician?

And I think you have your maths wrong as you are assuming pay is evenly distributed which it is not. And it's not 60% of 50 people - it's 60% of the income.

Imagine 100 people -

Number 50 is on £25,000

There could be 30 people on less than £16,000 - which is 60% of the Median wage.

Or there could be 10 people on less than £16,000.

Both sets would be in poverty - the top one is 1 in 3, the bottom is 1 in 10.

Make it 50% of the median income = £12,500.

There could still be 30 people on less than £12,500 or 10 people on less than that.

Same fraction in poverty - but a different definition.

grumpyoldbat Sat 27-Jul-13 23:06:42

It was in the UK.

The examples are extreme in terms of the number of horrible decisions the individual had to make but they needed to be extreme to make the point. 100s of children are abused every day, they do not chose to be abused. Every day 1000s of people are placed in the position where they have to make a choice and all the options are bad and they need to find the least bad one.

sometimes the choices will lead to poverty but sometimes all the options they had would have led to poverty. They did not chose poverty as such.

Yes there are wastrels out there but every poor person does not deserve to be tarred with the same brush. The vast majority of poor people are poor due to a combination of circumstances at least some of which are usually outwith their control.

The don't need the sympathy of the better off. They do need people to stop kicking them while they are down, to stop sneering at them and telling them they deserve their suffering. They need to be recognised as human beings and not pushed further down because their existence is an uncomfortable reminder of what could happen to any one.

thechildrensparkle Sat 27-Jul-13 23:08:11

But what has inner city Leeds spawned Kim. Alan Bennett, Barbara Taylor Bradford and my DH who went to the same primary. A bit of poverty didn't do them any harm, in fact it made them grit and grind and succeed in spite of it. A bit of nothing made them want a bit of something.

thechildrensparkle Sat 27-Jul-13 23:11:17

Indeed grumpyoldbat they do need to be recognised as human beings. Human beings who can be educated and trained and who can and should be expected to work and to live decently and think about the consequences of their actions. There used to be consequences: expulsion, borstal, things that supported boundaries, now all we have are excuses in the name of having to make exceptions for dysfunctionalism and delinquency in the name of equal ops. Everyone should have opportunity but it should be because of what they have done and can do rather than in spite of it.

grumpyoldbat Sat 27-Jul-13 23:17:35

sparkle I can assure you I'm not completely uneducated, I work very hard, I try my best to be a decent person, I've never knowingly committed a crime, I've never expected thing to be handed to me on a plate. I just get sick of being treated like the shit on someone's shoe.

Your post is a prime example of people making vile assumptions about the poor.

MiniTheMinx Sat 27-Jul-13 23:19:52

Yes it was for a short time btw the end of the war and 1979. Most jobs paid sufficiently well to allow women not to work and stay home. That's not to say that all of them did or that the very lowest wage was enough. During this time we had rising wages and lower levels of unemployment.

interesting reading

It doesn't matter how morally bankrupt we think people are, if there are too few jobs and those that exist pay peanuts, people will be poor.

thechildrensparkle Sat 27-Jul-13 23:20:30

What vile assumption has been made. I have noted the expectation that all people should be provided with guidance to lead decent, moral lives and to expect to work hard for all they have. What precisely is vile about that please?

grumpyoldbat Sat 27-Jul-13 23:25:35

The assumption that poor people will be immoral. I take exception to people assuming I will be immoral.

MiniTheMinx Sat 27-Jul-13 23:26:59

"not pushed further down because their existence is an uncomfortable reminder of what could happen to any one"

Well said because that's it. That's why those that are better off prefer to think that they are a species apart from the those in poverty. Far better to sneer than to accept that they are no better, just fortunate.

kim147 Sat 27-Jul-13 23:27:44

So what happened?

Why did life become so expensive?

AudrinaAdare Sat 27-Jul-13 23:30:07

"Equal ops" to my knowledge has never been a reason for keeping genuinely dysfunctional and delinquent young people out of care / borstal but the disability discrimination act may well have kept many children like my autistic DS at home with support and understanding.

He is only six, but I do wonder and feel saddened at how he might have fared in less-enlightened times. Beaten to death perhaps, for looking "normal", having a reading-age off the scale but wilfully refusing to be toilet-trained or eat anything but dry food and still sleeping like a six week old.

Not all human beings can be educated and trained to work and to connect consequences to actions. Treating people equally doesn't mean treating them the same. My daughter has known this since she was a very young child.

MiniTheMinx Sat 27-Jul-13 23:30:19

AudrinaAdare similar stories here. Work was easier to come by, employers invested into training and retaining their staff, better wages and greater levels of social mobility. Isn't that what is needed now?

eyebrowsfurrowed Sat 27-Jul-13 23:31:19

'Dreadful that children are born into poverty but with free contraception it really doesn't have to happen.' don't you think you should go back to the daily mail website sparkle...

@mini the minx i think i love you a little bit. Terrible surroundings, no escapism (outdoor or indoor) mean no breeding ground for bigger and better ideas.

MiniTheMinx Sat 27-Jul-13 23:38:58

kim147, why so expensive? you need to research how capitalism has come to rely on markets for investment rather than productive areas of the economy. The housing market makes more for those that sell debt, repackage and buy debt than it does for those who take on mortgages to buy their home. One of the ways that the huge surpluses are taken care of is in real estate creating housing bubbles. Becuase neo-liberalism leads to huge corporate profits and falling wages, debt is a great way to keep people spending but an even greater way to get people to pay for everything twice, thus creating even greater surplus profits. That's just one example of how financification is making life very expensive for all of us. Other examples are commodity markets & derivatives.

MiniTheMinx Sat 27-Jul-13 23:40:00

eyebrowsfurrowed thank you flowers

AudrinaAdare Sat 27-Jul-13 23:41:10

I have a little bit of a crush on mini too blush

MiniTheMinx Sat 27-Jul-13 23:42:59

AudrinaAdare flowers blush

kim147 Sat 27-Jul-13 23:43:30

Interesting stuff, Mini.

I know some stuff about economics but not too much. I do think there is something deeply wrong with the way our society is structured and the role the financial sector plays in it.

I don't know the answers but it just seems wrong at the moment.

MiniTheMinx Sat 27-Jul-13 23:46:59

Night all, thanks Kim for such a great thread. Maybe we can win some of these Daily mail readers over eventually grin

I wonder if little George will ever know that so many of his peers are growing up without even the basics. I suspect he won't have clue. That's why this system perpetuates itself, denial from all sides.

Tortington Sat 27-Jul-13 23:53:40

its the injustice of the equality that does me in. While the tory fuckers are spouting about 'the poors' breeding too much, claiming to many benefits, they are tax dodging and claiming outrageous expenses, they keep their taxes in off shore accounts, some even life off their millionaire wife's money.

what is good for the goose is good for the gander i say. One shouldn't make the prevailing ideology about self reliance and getting on ones bike when one is eating a rather nice meal in parliament paid for by the tax payer and one goes back to a home owned by one's millionaire wife and one claims quite handsome expenses.

Lazyjaney Sun 28-Jul-13 00:00:02

And I think you have your maths wrong as you are assuming pay is evenly distributed which it is not. And it's not 60% of 50 people - it's 60% of the income

The correlation is close enough to get the rough number as the distribution is close enough to map until nearer the tails of the curve.

All the info you want on uk poverty is in this 150 page from 2022 report btw

The poor are always with us, especially if we define a constant % of the population as poor in relative terms.

AudrinaAdare Sun 28-Jul-13 00:00:38

One of the best posts I have ever seen on this issue was from a MNer who is known for her extremely financially secure position which she attributes to hard work and good luck. She had a difficult start herself and is absolutely lovely.

It was on one of the threads about Christmas spending. People were competitively pooring and being scornful about those on low-incomes who over-spend especially wrt gadgets.

She had the grace and empathy to say, <paraphrasing> that her children had a large house and garden to play in. Private schools with many after-hours opportunities to develop their talents, enrich their lives, regular holidays / travel / days-out / restaurants. And that she could absolutely understand why a lone-parent with four DC in a third-floor flat would want / need to save for and buy an X-box at Christmas with the worst of the winter still ahead.

People like her give me hope but there are too few of them here.

MiniTheMinx Sun 28-Jul-13 10:00:25

Lazyjaney, I wouldn't argue otherwise because the logic in your argument is sound. I would point out that although the way in which poverty is measured seems to validate the argument that we have huge levels of poverty and must act, what is more likely (when you conclude how the elite act to misinform us) is that measured in such a way it seems the number of people slipping into poverty hasn't/doesn't increase. Plus it undermines the argument about what poverty actually is. So in short, the way they have chosen to measure poverty allows those on the right to deny its existence. That is quite purposeful IMO.

If they chose a different way of measuring poverty, it might be found that the data would not be open to misinterpretation.

I'm not certain that people on 30,000 pa with a family, are actually doing anything other than scraping by because of the erosion of wages through stagnation and inflation. In just a few years I'm sure we will witness huge levels of debt related in energy costs. It isn't possible for every non-negotiable payment to rise at the rate at which it is. It literally becomes a question of the council and the gas company picking over the coppers in your purse in a fight to be paid first/or at all. And if all money is earmarked for absolute essentials how does that bode for the economy and for our job security?

Fillyjonk75 Sun 28-Jul-13 10:13:38

The key for me is the spread of income. The gap between rich and poor
has widened as successive governments have allowed the private sector to dominate everything and make vast amount of money off the backs of those on low to medium incomes. While people are still not paid properly, even in this country, let alone in the second and third world. There is very little 'trickle down' effect. Especially in times of recession and economic stagnation.

Poorer people are maintaining, or in fact, improving the lifestyles of the plutocrats who have seen their standard or living get better in the last five years, while most peoples' has got worse - some to dramatic effect.

Caster8 Sun 28-Jul-13 10:20:56

To my mind, both ends of the financial spectrum need some sorting out, especially the top end.

And I think that, until the top end is dealt with, will people have too much stomach to fiddle about with the bottom end.

I know some people say, well if the large corporations pay the amounts in tax that they should, that they will go elsewhere and take their jobs with them. I suspect that is true up to a point. But at lwast things would be fairer. Though that is wasy for me to say, when I dont directly know anyone who works for them. Well 1 person, thinking about it.

kim147 Sun 28-Jul-13 10:32:22

I think some people don't realise how lucky they are - or maybe they do but think only of themselves.

I know people have free choice about how to spend their money in life. But is there something wrong in a society where people can spend £1000s on luxury goods and holidays whilst their neighbours who may live only a few miles away struggle to feed and clothe themselves and their children.

Can that be justified as a society? If you were asked by "your maker" to justify a luxury holiday whilst people went hungry, could you?

<But of course, we all do it. Look out for ourselves first and who can blame us>

Fillyjonk75 Sun 28-Jul-13 10:32:55

The more heartening thing is that there is starting to be more co-operation across nations and continents with regards to tax. At some point there will be nowhere to hide what you should be paying in tax. Also wages are going up in developing countries at a pace, so companies will have to compete on something other than cheap (child) labour.

Fillyjonk75 Sun 28-Jul-13 10:36:44

I know people have free choice about how to spend their money in life. But is there something wrong in a society where people can spend £1000s on luxury goods and holidays whilst their neighbours who may live only a few miles away struggle to feed and clothe themselves and their children

Or a few more miles away, people whose crop has failed and are in the middle of a civil war and struggle to eat at all.

grumpyoldbat Sun 28-Jul-13 10:39:20

The cheapest and easiest thing people could do to make poor people feel better is say hello, stop ridiculing them and kicking them while they are down. The boost that would give to mood and self esteem makes the slog of a low paid job and/or job hunting that little bit more tolerable. IME

HollyBerryBush Sun 28-Jul-13 10:39:37

If you were asked by "your maker" to justify a luxury holiday whilst people went hungry, could you?

Incredibly melodramatic and so emotionally blackmailing. As pointed out way up the thread, in the western world no matter how poor you think you are, you are in the top 1% of wealthy people world wide. So unless you want to reduce the entire world to living in mud huts and scrabbling in dirt you are not going to level out 'poverty'. Or perhaps you are only thinking of localised people?

kim147 Sun 28-Jul-13 10:42:19

Just a question - and so true. We do only think about ourselves but when you look at the world, we are so so lucky.

I'm not sure if we can justify it, to be honest. We are lucky in the West.

grumpyoldbat Sun 28-Jul-13 10:51:28

How is it worse than telling someone suffering that the deserve it, telling them they are scum? It's certainly not as cruel.

MiniTheMinx Sun 28-Jul-13 12:24:07

If you were asked by "your maker" to justify a luxury holiday whilst people went hungry, could you?

Me no, I would struggle.

no matter how poor you think you are, you are in the top 1% of wealthy people world wide. So unless you want to reduce the entire world to living in mud huts and scrabbling in dirt you are not going to level out 'poverty'

This really is a non-argument.

Money is a commodity in its own right but also the means of exchange, we exchange it in order to acquire the basics of life (because all basics are now commodities under this system) IT ISN'T the amount of money in the system but the rate at which it is exchanged against other commodities. Just think how many times one £20 note changes hands and how many bills it pays and commodities it purchases.

However money is also a source of wealth, some people acquire and hoard ( corporations and wealthy individuals hoard and fail to invest in productive areas) Now we have a situation where corporations are sitting on approx $300 trillion of surplus capital which is not being invested in areas that create goods, services and jobs in the economy.

This means that those who rely on wages (or would be waged but instead rely on benefits) never having enough money to exchange to meet living requirements. That money is "locked" not in the exchange system as means of exchange but has been hoarded. And what is more, that money is made through the profits of their own labour and consumption, it is effectively all of our money. Increasingly we see a situation where greater surpluses are accumulation at the top, people are having to take on debt, which in turn increases the accumulation at the top. This is not a healthy situation for the survival of capitalism because too much inequality causes systemic failure and growing poverty, we all lose out, even those that feel quite secure at the moment are not as secure as they might otherwise be.

Levelling the playing field doesn't mean we all live in abject third world poverty, it is not a zero sum game.

handcream Sun 28-Jul-13 19:03:55

I think some are assuming that when people are given money (benefits, from working etc) they know how to budget. A friend of mine had a short term role at the local council helping people who were on benefits and low wages and getting into debt with pay day type loans.

She was staggered at some people who really didnt have clue for example, I have £500 - out of that I need to pay xx and xx and anything else is for the non essentials.

IPhones, blackberries on contracts cigs and Sky were often something that she flagged to people as 'non essentials'. A couple of people she was assisting complained about her pointing out these as they felt they were 'essential'. She was told by her management not to mention again that these particular items were non essential as it hurt the people's self esteem.

What is the point of looking at what someone is spending, pointing out what they can save on and then being critizied for it!

JakeBullet Sun 28-Jul-13 19:57:25

I agree with you there handcream, it is staggering what people consider as "essential".

For me "essential" is the rent, council tax, water, gas, electricity etc plus food. Then I add phone etc..most people NEED a phone but not an iphone etc. Broadband for homework, job applications etc and that's it.

Not essential are Sky, iphones, the latest TV etc.

hadababygirl Sun 28-Jul-13 20:09:53

Do some of you then think we should all be given exactly the same amount of money on a monthly basis?

And if we did, we still wouldn't get rid of poverty.

JakeBullet Sun 28-Jul-13 20:35:42

Nope, we won't all ever earn the same money. Poverty (or the relative poverty we see in the UK) will still be with us. Ad even though it is relative poverty rather than the absolute poverty we see in the third world it is relevant. The poorest in society still have poorer outcomes in nearly all areas of life. It is how this is tackled whichnismopwn to debate.

expatinscotland Sun 28-Jul-13 20:37:45

My maker? Eh?

MiniTheMinx Sun 28-Jul-13 20:45:39

hadababygirl, ooh should I give up work now, are you suggesting we all get given money? woohooo wink

No I think people should earn their living unless they really can't. Those that can't are often doing some of the most worthwhile and unrewarded work in society, such as mothers and carers.

grumpyoldbat Mon 29-Jul-13 00:21:26

Being poor makes budgeting harder than you think.

You can't freeze leftovers without a freezer. Can't cook properly without a cooker. Can't travel to the cheapest supermarket without transport (if not in walking distance). Can't take advantage of bulk buy offers without the cash to buy it or place to store it. Can't replace drafty heat leaking windows when you rent.

grumpyoldbat Mon 29-Jul-13 00:23:08

Also prepay metres cost more per unit used.

FasterStronger Mon 29-Jul-13 08:49:02

However money is also a source of wealth, some people acquire and hoard ( corporations and wealthy individuals hoard and fail to invest in productive areas) Now we have a situation where corporations are sitting on approx $300 trillion of surplus capital which is not being invested in areas that create goods, services and jobs in the economy.

why would you do that?

MiniTheMinx Mon 29-Jul-13 10:03:29

because there is no demand due to high levels of debt.

Say, I had £20,000 I would like to invest. I need to make a return on my investment. I won't take silly risks but calculated ones. However, right now, I know you can't afford spotty gnomes and garden fountains, so I won't invest in manufacturing these things. I will wait until I find something else, something that will be less risky and is more likely to give me the return I want. Meanwhile you have no gnomes, no money and no job!

MiniTheMinx Mon 29-Jul-13 10:13:34

Its called the "Capital Absorption Problem"

It presents in two key ways: individual capitalists can't find areas of low risk to invest and so don't, as described above.

and: in Marxist terms as "Harvey points out, that a ‘healthy’ capitalist economy must expand at a rate of about 3 per cent per annum. This means, of course, that more and more capital surplus must be absorbed. If we are to return to 3 per cent compound growth today, $1.6 trillion in surplus capital would need to be profitably invested. If sustained growth returns, the world economy will need to absorb some $3 trillion in surplus capital by 2030 This, Harvey remarks, is ‘a very tall order’ There simply must come a point where capital accumulation outstrips the capacity of the world economy to absorb the growing capital surplus.

Caster8 Mon 29-Jul-13 11:27:21

Mini, but wouldnt you say that the world is so large, 7 billion and counting, that of course there are areas of growth? Have to be if you ask me.
There are always areas of the world growing, even now. Perhaps say 50 countries out of 250 or whatever are currently growing.
And those canny investors certainly know whaich areas those are. That is part of their job.

MiniTheMinx Mon 29-Jul-13 22:01:45

I would agree, the world is large and much of it undeveloped.

This area is much contested. I am inclined to think that because capitalism relies on economic inequalities & at the root of it is exploitation of labour and the engine that drives it on accumulation (capital absorption problem). Historically we became the most industrialised nation, exploiting cheap labour in the acquisition of resources. Resources that were exported to us and we then manufactured. By the early 20th century our internal market was good for at least a good percentage of what we created. By the 70's investment was already being exported and because of things like containerisation, manufacturing was off-shored but we still consumed. But this consumption was built on the back of access to credit and because of the exploitation of much cheaper labour elsewhere.

We are now in decline (I think we are in a new phase) whereby much of world is still undeveloped but their internal markets are weak with little consumer demand. There is some internal demand within china now and to a much lesser degree india. But this is only from the portion of the populace that is wealthy (capitalists themselves)

Because of the labour theory of value, the workers can never create demand for all of the goods/services they create. Some marxists would say that capitalism self sustains demand within an internal market or even at a global level because capitalists make up the short fall in consumption.

But do they? because right now there is very little demand. So the rich do not make up the difference and do not stimulate the economy on the back of their spending.

In short, capitalism thrives on inequality, creates inequality and then eventually implodes because of.......too much inequality. We will never get to a point where we have actually developed the entire globe. Exploit it and damage the environment but never equal levels of development and living standards.

Caster8 Mon 29-Jul-13 22:18:22

There are roughly 190 countries in the world. I somehow thought you would quote China and India, because they are in the headlines. But that still leaves 188 countries. Yes, most of Europe and USA and some others can be discounted.

A list of just some of the countries around the world experiencing economic growth in 2012

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