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Is there such a thing as "severe poverty" in the UK?

306 replies

Niceguy2 · 25/03/2011 23:45

I'm being serious. I'm not talking about poor. Obviously there are plenty of people who either are poor or think they are. But I mean severe poverty.

I just read the Save the Children child poverty report which claims that 1.6million children live in severe poverty. And they define "severe poverty" as a family of 1 child who has an income of less than £7000 (or 2 kids with income < £12k).

But a quick tot up of benefits tells me that a family with 1 child would get the following each year:

Income Support £3412
Tax Credits £2850
Child Benefit £1055
Total 7317

And that's before you take into account housing benefit, council tax, free school dinners etc etc. So to me, no UK family should fall into that definition.

Then the report goes on to say they say someone is living in poverty if basic necessities are not met such as not "having enough shoes", not being able to pay for "home contents insurance" or children missing out on "having friends round" or "school trips".

When I hear "poverty" I think of children living in the streets with no food, not being unable to go on a school trip!

So given all that, is there such a thing as severe poverty in the UK? Or is it as I suspect that some families just can't manage their money?

I'm not trying to argue that £7k is a lot of money. I'm just saying that if that's the definition and the state gives you more, then surely there isn't such a thing?

OP posts:
BrilliantDisguise · 26/03/2011 23:40

I would call severe poverty having no bedding, or bed even- just a filthy stained mattress on the floor, that you share with another sibling; no curtains at the window; having just 1 set of school uniform that is ill fitting, and only washed once a week so often grubby, food-covered, stained etc; shoes that are too big, too small, full of holes/sole coming off them; having no books anywhere in the house, no more than a couple of toys either; no access to dental care (because there are no free nhs dentists anywhere within a reasonable radius, and travelling for the whole family to the nearest surgery would be 1/4 of a week's food bill); relying on food parcels from charities, and clothing parcels too when available.

I have seen children living in conditions like these- in the UK, present time.

expatinscotland · 26/03/2011 23:44

Welcome to the club, usualsuspect :o.

LegoStuckinMyhoover · 26/03/2011 23:45

i wonder if people who say there is no poverty are actually just insecure in themselves on many different levels?

BaroqueAroundTheClock · 26/03/2011 23:53

TSC - of course that 2.5 million is the number claiming JSA............I do occasionaly count in some figures - but am not classed as being out of work either - due to still being on IS.

Of course the fact that I've started to buy the local paper weekly, and check for jobs online, and look at the jobs advertised in shop windows when I'm in town isn't "officla" job seeking. there are many people like me, Single parents, with young children who are about to head off to school later this year who are going to be looking for work - but because they aren't on JSA they're not "out of work".

Last May (2010) there were 670,000 LP's on income support. So I reckon we can safely add at least 1/2 of those on the "actually I am looking for work" list......

BrilliantDisguise · 26/03/2011 23:53

Whatever did you say usualsuspect?

Maypole- hopefully, some of that money saved from 'scroungers' will be used on evening classes to allow those in your position to learn English.

elliott · 26/03/2011 23:59

Also there are people living here (asylum seekers for example) who aren't allowed to claim benefits or work. Some of them have children.

BaroqueAroundTheClock · 27/03/2011 00:03

That's true elliott - Asylum seekers get £38 a week (adult rate) rather than the full £64.50 that those on "normal" benefits get and can't work.

Plus those on many visa who have moved here to work, maybe lost their josb, and have had to take something paying much less. They're not allowed to claim anything at all either.

TheSecondComing · 27/03/2011 00:10

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Jaquelinehyde · 27/03/2011 00:14

Good God their are some cunts on MN these days!

BaroqueAroundTheClock · 27/03/2011 00:16

I dread to think TSC - I'm trying not to think about that too much what with DS3 heading off to school in September, it's scary shit looking at the jobs sectins/ads round these parts. There are more now than there were last year - there's about 3 pages on the job centre wesite for example. But a hell of a lot of them are only a couple of hours a week, or required specific skills/qualificatins. There's not an awful lot for those just looking to get into work. I've already told my BF that if she wants to change jobs from her current one she'd better do it now before I start applying properly in a few months time so I'm not fighting her for them Grin

BaroqueAroundTheClock · 27/03/2011 00:17
TheSecondComing · 27/03/2011 00:18

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BaroqueAroundTheClock · 27/03/2011 00:21

\link{\haha} -

Jaquelinehyde · 27/03/2011 00:23

Hehehe Grin

Well it needed to be said didn't it? Come on tell me it didn't need to be can't can you Grin

TheSecondComing · 27/03/2011 00:35

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

usualsuspect · 27/03/2011 09:02

How come I got deleted for saying twat?

meditrina · 27/03/2011 10:17

Lego: It's not insecurity. I've worked where there is absolute poverty and the UK situation doesn't even begin to compare.

I dislike the terminogy which tends to conflate the two, and "severe" poverty to me to do this.

I have never said, however, that the effects of relative deprivation are insignificant in any way, and would agree that the effects can be severe.

But poverty is a global problem, and we should thank our lucky stars that we are in an affluent country that is not faced with the awfulness of absolute poverty.

edam · 27/03/2011 14:09

meditrina - that's rather like telling someone with diabetes that they should be grateful they don't have cancer. There is ALWAYS someone worse off than you. Doesn't mean your problems aren't real.

And poverty in other countries is pretty much irrelevant to a debate about poverty in our country anyway. We are talking about our society and people living in our society and have to pay UK prices for food and UK prices for transport and UK prices for housing and everything else.

We are all very lucky we don't live in Libya, or Darfur, or hundreds of other countries where life is pretty shit. Doesn't mean if you lost your job tomorrow that wouldn't be a problem.

meditrina · 27/03/2011 14:11

Edam: could I suggest you re-read my post? Especially the third tiret.

edam · 27/03/2011 14:15

yeah, I read your post. Don't see why a homeless family, or disabled person who faces losing their mobility allowance should thank their lucky stars, though.

BaroqueAroundTheClock · 27/03/2011 14:19

agree totally with edam.

BooyHoo · 27/03/2011 14:20

"Society only has itself to blame, we've allowed people to have children without even thinking of how they will support them "

are you really that thick?

both me and my partner were working well paid jobs when we decided to have our children. whilst on mat leave with our 2nd we made the decision for me to leave work and become a registered Cmer whilst my partner supported us financially. then he left. and voila! all of a sudden i was a single unemployed parent. believe me if i had predicted that happening and the fact that i would be scraping by on benefits i would not have given up my secure job.

think on before you make ridiculous statements like that. and dont even try and be as patronising as to come back and say "obviously i don't mean cases like yours, i mean those that choose to live off benefits"


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amummyinwaiting · 27/03/2011 14:32

Not managing your money properly does result in severe poverty for some children.
I visit families who have no beds and just sleep on blankets on the floor, who do not have enough food to eat etc.

Also, as someone else said, debt can be racked up quickly at the end of a relationship, during a period of not being able to work etc and if it is through an unreputable company then they will take large amounts of money even if the person is working and so there is very little/if any left for heating/food etc but they are two scared to not pay it and so prioritise it first.

Thistledew · 27/03/2011 14:44

There are thousands of people living in the UK who cannot get a job and cannot claim benefits.

So yes, there is absolute poverty in the UK.

TheJollyPirate · 27/03/2011 14:53

Yes HappyMummy really IS that thick - so are some others here sadly. Domestic violence leaving people with nothing anyone?

Poverty is relative (look it up HappyMummy - you might learn something love) as a result there are those who will lose out in life thanks to what they experience when born. I have seen families living in awful accommodation - mold up all the walls etc because even when working they cannot afford to move out into the private sector and there is a lack of social housing to move them into. Children who breathe in the mold spores thereby building up a lifetime of respiratory illness.... and that's just the tip of the iceberg.

I'd like to challenge some of the dimwits on here to try living on benefits - it isn't simple (been there when DH was made redundant) and life of luxury it definitely is NOT.

Poverty doesn't exist? Don't make me laugh.

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