What it means to be poor in the UK

(7 Posts)
slhilly Fri 01-Mar-13 17:47:20

I thought maybe we could have a fact-based thread about what poverty in the UK really looks like. It might disabuse people of the notion that it's not that crap to be poor.

Some things that it means:
- It means dying younger than your richer neighbours. London example shows that travelling east from Westminster on the Jubilee line, each tube stop represents nearly one year of life expectancy lost as you go from richer to poorer areas.
- It means a real risk of having to choose between eating and keeping warm.

I think it also means:
- A higher risk of being the victim of a violent crime.
- Your children are less likely to go to university, to go to an elite university, to enter the professions, etc
Haven't found good links to evidence for this, however.

niceguy2 Fri 01-Mar-13 20:17:29

I'm not sure of your goals here. I don't think anyone would dispute that it's crap to be poor. Of course it is.

But it's all relative isn't it?

We are incredibly lucky that in the UK absolute poverty doesn't really exist. What we have is relative poverty. That's still pretty shit but it's less shit than living in poverty in India or China etc.

As for the poor dying younger or being at greater risk of crime etc. Again I don't think anyone could sensibly dispute that. But the real question is how best to tackle it. And you can't really have a fact-based thread about that without breaking into political arguments.

slhilly Fri 01-Mar-13 23:15:55

I think plenty of people dispute that a Briton in poverty suffers any substantive problems.

ttosca Sat 02-Mar-13 09:51:04

> We are incredibly lucky that in the UK absolute poverty doesn't really exist. What we have is relative poverty. That's still pretty shit but it's less shit than living in poverty in India or China etc.

We do have absolute poverty in the UK, evidenced by the fact that tens of thousands of families use food banks every year

"He added: "We come across people who haven't eaten for days because they've used whatever food they had to feed their children."


...and thousands of 'excess' people die in the winter ever year because they're unable to heat their homes:


CloudsAndTrees Mon 04-Mar-13 10:25:43

I don't think it's likely to be the poorest children that are the least likely to go to university any more. The poorest are the ones that will get the most help with university. It's the ones who's parents are managing but that aren't quite poor enough to access grants and full student loans that are going to be the least likely to get to university in the future.

FasterStronger Mon 04-Mar-13 16:44:03

The tube map shows female life expectancy going from 84yo in the rich West London to 80yo in the relatively poor East.

which compares well with global life expectancies en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_life_expectancy

Danish women average 80.5. About the same as the poor of East London.

I thought Danes had a high standard of living.....

curiouscat Mon 04-Mar-13 20:10:40

We do have absolute poverty in Britain. I work with single rough sleepers in a supposedly affluent leafy W London area. These are some of the many risks they face:

-ulcers on their feet which go untreated
-dressings from doctor getting infected because they can't keep them clean
- unable to keep yourself clean or shower during your period
- violence from passers by
- exhaustion from walking around at night because you are too scared to sleep anywhere
- be frightened of local drunks but scared you may join them one day
- being discharged from hospital to the streets
- ditto prison
- premature death

I could go on. And the numbers are increasing year on year despite Britain being one of the world's richest countries.

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