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'There is no such thing as poverty in this country'

(573 Posts)
RealityIsHavingAPartay Sat 01-Aug-09 09:59:20

Message withdrawn

AramintaCane Sat 01-Aug-09 10:02:05

Oh my - i am speechless poor you.

luckylady74 Sat 01-Aug-09 10:03:56

I think the only way to get through to people like your sister is to witness the poverty first hand.
Take her with you to a charitable organization where she can help out and see how many people are working very hard to help themselves, but are stuck in the grinding poverty trap.
How far does she think the toilet cleaning wage would go towards her mortgage?
I'm not good at pithy so sorry I have no answer!

gigglinggoblin Sat 01-Aug-09 10:05:39

Have you or your kids starved yet? It depends on your view of poverty. I could never class someeone in this country as poor when there are children dying due to lack of clean water.

And yes I have lived on income support.

I am also guessing that you are after an argument as there is no way you would have posted this otherwise.

GrapefruitMoon Sat 01-Aug-09 10:07:14

It's a very subjective thing IMO. Re the washing machine thing - I would personally struggle without one but my grandmother had to manage without as she lived in a house without electricity or running water when her children were young. But people had less clothes then and maybe hygiene standards were lower.

I think we live in such a materialistic society that a lit of people feel poor even if they have enough to eat, a house and clothes. Whereas in a poorer country they would be deemed well-off...

scottishmummy Sat 01-Aug-09 10:08:16

denens how you define poverty.does she mean relative or absolute?sadly too many families live in poverty.

your SIL is really rent-a-cliche.does she really believe that stuff

you know what No one knows what awaits them , lost job,mortgage default and one can slide into debt and poverty

lots iof useful info inc
endchildpoverty

Scorpette Sat 01-Aug-09 10:08:36

Direct her to some websites like these:

http://www.oxfam.org.uk/resources/ukpoverty/povertyfacts.html
http://www.poverty.org.uk/
http://www.jrf.org.uk/work/workarea/child-poverty

The facts should open her eyes a bit (hopefully). She ought to be grateful she doesn't have any worries, poverty-wise, not spiteful about and dismissive of those in dire need.

theyoungvisiter Sat 01-Aug-09 10:09:47

"I said I hope your DH doesn't fuck off and leave you holding the baby with your huge mortgage and your job doesn't disappear out from under you. She said don't be stupid, I'd get another job easily, I'd clean toilets if I had to."

And would this toilet cleaning job pay enough to cover decent childcare? Or even rubbish childcare?

Or would the teeny baby roll around on the toilet floor while she scrubbed?

Silly woman.

BTW many measures define poverty as having an income that is less than half the national average - so it's pretty clear cut.

RealityIsHavingAPartay Sat 01-Aug-09 10:10:30

Message withdrawn

NervousNutty Sat 01-Aug-09 10:11:19

I am on benefits and would not class myself or my children as living in poverty or anywhere near it.

However, I know other families in similar circumstances and although they get the same benefits, they seem to really struggle and not be able to make ends meet.

I think poverty means diffeent things to different people though. I would conider myself to be living in poverty if I couldn't afford food or other esentials.

AcademicMum Sat 01-Aug-09 10:11:36

I hope nothing unexpected ever happens to her!

You can go from being very nicely off, to being homeless/penniless at the blink of an eye. My dad was the youngest of a large family, all fine with no money worries. Then my grandad died and my grandma got evicted from her house. Homeless, with 9 children to look after, she had to go out to work and couldn't look after the children so the youngest (my dad and one of his siblings) were adopted.

You really just don't know what is around the corner (oh and btw, due to his background, my dad is a complete workaholic, never claimed benefits or anything like that, but has also instilled in us not to take anything for granted, as so much can change which is beyond our control).

theyoungvisiter Sat 01-Aug-09 10:11:39

ok washing machine is a bit subjective - but what if your cooker breaks down? Could you survive without that? Or your boiler, in a freezing cold winter?

scottishmummy Sat 01-Aug-09 10:12:27

oxfam

poverty uk org grim reading

child poverty

LaurieFairyCake Sat 01-Aug-09 10:12:48

I've been doing without my washing machine for 6 months as the pipes burst in my utility and my plumber has been very busy.

I drive to a launderette with 4 loads of washing every week (it's 3 miles away so I couldn't carry it) and it costs £18.00 to wash it (myself, not service wash).

If that were a family in poverty it would be one quarter of their income to wash their clothes - and they would need a car to do it.

To choose lesser hygiene standards makes children/families isolated, leads to social isolation and bullying in school.

Poverty is hugely about poverty of opportunity and it is very difficult if you live in a socially deprived area to get out - some on here have managed it but it is rare.

HeadFairy Sat 01-Aug-09 10:13:54

My sister's a bit like this... For someone so clever and well read she's really dim sometimes.

Of course poverty is relative, in Africa it means you starve to death and your children die of totally preventable diseases. We're fortunate enough to not face those problems here, but there is still terrible poverty and to understand it is to appreciate that it goes waaay beyond the benefit system and living off credit. There's a cultural side to it to.

Have a go if you think I'm being patronising, but I think when you grow up in a household where no one works then you don't understand the work culture and there's no work ethic. It's not that you don't want to work, but work just doesn't feature as the "normal" thing to do. You or I might say we'd clean toilets, sweep streets, whatever to keep a roof above our heads, but if you've never been shown that example then you never come to adopt it as your own philosphy.

This does leave people very much at the mercy of the benefit system and its associated problems. It's not stupidity, but when a mortgage, jobs, paying taxes etc just don't feature in your life then they're about as alien to you as being on benefits is to your sister.

My favourite example is when I was at University in Leeds doing a business degree we studied local businesses. One of my tutors asked us why we thought there were so many chippies in the town. We couldnt for the life of us come up with a reason, he pointed out that when the miners were given their redundo in the early 80s (I was in Leeds in the mid to late 80s) none of them was given any support, training or sensible advice as to what to do with the money that was supposed to support them after their livelihoods had been removed, so they all opened chippies. Ok not all, but a lot. Too many to survive. Many lost their businesses in an overcrowded market, and with it any means they had of setting themselves up for the future.

They were given no support, no education, no retraining, nothing. That set a whole generation (and subsquent generations) on a path to poverty and deprivation, poor education, poor work prospects and so on. Just one example of how Tory policies in the late 70s and early 80s set millions on the benefits path they're still on IMO.

Sorry, I'm ranting now...

TheCrackFox Sat 01-Aug-09 10:16:37

My sister comes out with gems like this too.

I think it is because she has had a seriously lucky adulthood (well paid DH). I don't think she realises that you can lose your DH/nice house/nice car all too quickly.

BlackLetterDay Sat 01-Aug-09 10:18:03

I'm not sure, we would probably meet your description of poor. Dp has a min wage job, we don't have a lot of spare cash etc for example our fridge has gone up the swanny and we will have to wait until next month to buy a (secondhand) one, we are saving up to buy carpets too. But we have enough to eat, clothes, a roof over our head. The children have toys and nice christmas and birthday presents and occasional days out (and obviously broadband and a pc grin). We might not have everything we need but I couldn't say we are truly poor.

I have known lots of people living on jsa/income support which I suppose is the minimum amount of money people in this country will have to cope on. The only person who ever went hungry occasionaly was my sister who now and again preferred to spend the money on booze and fags.

GrapefruitMoon Sat 01-Aug-09 10:20:15

Theyoungvisitor - my grandma had no heating bar an open fire (and lived in a cold, wet country) and cooked on the open fire before they got electricity. We didn't have central heating when I was young and that wasn't unusual.

I'm not advocating we return to those times but having experienced the conditions my grandparents lived in has made me very grateful for what I have now - and tbh a bit cynical about what people claim is poverty.

theyoungvisiter Sat 01-Aug-09 10:24:07

yes but grapefruit she lived in a place with a fireplace! I have lived in houses without heating btw, and an open fire makes a HUGE difference.

What do you do if you live in a council flat with no heating and no fireplace, and no money to buy an electric heater, and the electricity meter has run out anyway because you have run out of 50p?

And yes people used to live in eye watering poverty and you know what? Lots of them died! LOTS of them died. Just because things were even worse back in the day, it doesn't mean they are acceptable now.

Or shoudl we just all be grateful that we are not living in caves and eating raw woolly mammoth?

diedandgonetodevon Sat 01-Aug-09 10:27:14

That programme really opened my eyes to the degree of poverty that does exist in this country.

Not being able to replace household items as basic as a bed when they break, not being able to afford nutritious food, living in poor quality housing etc is poverty.
It sounds terribly naive to admit, but I had no idea people really have to live like this.

It may be a world away from those starving around the world and having to walk miles to get water but I am still shocked that in a developed country people are still forced to live like this.

Clockface Sat 01-Aug-09 10:28:59

Of course there's poverty in this country. There are churches (and other groups, but I just happen to know about the churches because I work for one) who have food programmes to give out cans of baked beans to families who couldn't eat otherwise. There are mothers who have got used to eating one meal a day and and who unwillingly work as prostitutes so that they can feed their children.

And yes there are 15 y os who have no work ethic / hope for the future, no ambition or aspiraton or any concept that life could offer any more than it does for them at this time. That's poverty too, of a different kind (although obviously there's overlap).

I know someone who runs a care home for the elderly. Se recently advertised for a cleaner. There was one cleaning job available, and she got 57 applicants. So saying "I'd clean toilets" is a bit simplistic in this current recession - even if you are willing to do menial jobs, a job might not be there for you to do.

Tell your sister in law to go and volunteer with a food project / soup kitchen / CAB, one shift a week, for a year. Get to know people, hear their stories, walk in their shoes for a bit.....then she might be qualified to comment.

HeadFairy Sat 01-Aug-09 10:30:31

What I was a student I was shocked at how bad housing conditions can be when you're really poor. We had no central heating, we had to break the ice on the loo in the mornings, and there was ice on the inside of the windows in winter. There was mould all over the house. It was dreadful. At least I could go home to my mum and dad's every few weeks. To live like that must just drain all the fight out of you.

EachPeachPearMum Sat 01-Aug-09 10:31:01

She should spend a day on the front desk of a social services area office in an inner city.
Yes- there are children/families who still have 1 meal a day; who have no furniture in their 'homes' other than a mattress on the floor shared between siblings; whose bedrooms have no curtains; who have 1 set of clothes; who are malnourished, even though they have enough calories to survive.
There are people who go to bed at 5pm in winter because they cannot afford to keep heating the single room in their house they live in; who wash clothes by hand as they cannot afford a washer and their twin-tub has died.

gigglinggoblin- don't think reality is after a ruck- she has posted many times on the way her sister speaks to her- this is a classic example of her attitude tbh.

Clockface Sat 01-Aug-09 10:33:25

HeadFairy - the cold inside people's homse can be awful. Very sadly, during last winter, where I was working, the demand for funerals was overwhelming as people died in the cold. Many of them were living in homes that were nowhere near as warm as the WHO's recommended 18 degrees. sad

daftpunk Sat 01-Aug-09 10:33:53

communism is the answer...

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