“Five million children in Britain could be ‘sentenced to a lifetime of poverty’ by 2020 because of welfare reforms, according to research from Save the Children. Cuts to benefits, the rising cost of living and years of flat wages have created a ‘triple whammy’ for children, the charity said. It argues that children have borne the brunt of the recession in Britain, and now represent the ‘face of poverty’ in the UK.” Source: The Independent 28th May 2014
With the welfare system continuing to shrink, the number of people experiencing poverty in the UK continues to rise rapidly. Unfortunately many analysts feel that things will continue to get worse before they get better as increasing numbers of men, women and children are in danger of entering into states of poverty due to an increased level of vulnerability even for those who are in full time employment. By vulnerability I am referring to people struggling to financially afford every day basic necessities in life, for example, food, clothing, and rent for housing.
People on low incomes who were once ‘safe’ from experiencing poverty are now facing the prospect of ‘lack’, as wages have not risen sufficiently to cover the costs of living. Statistics may suggest that employment levels in the UK are up but in reality this is only partial success. Being employed does not automatically mean an improvement in quality of life. Gaining employment can actually contribute towards poverty if the transition from unemployment into work is not properly supported. Providing people who have been unemployed for long periods with a job, putting a tick in a box and closing the file on them, so to speak, is a dangerous precedent to set. This approach accentuates the emergence of poverty in the UK for the next generation to be born into.
We have numerous examples of people we work with who have requested food parcels and clothing bundles even though they are in employment. This may come as a surprise but it is indicative of ‘half a job’ having been done by our government in providing opportunities for the long-term unemployed to gain employment but having the blinkers on regarding peripheral aspects associated with being in work that must be addressed to increase the likelihood of long term success. For example, someone being on a zero hours contract is not necessarily a success. Many people on zero hours contracts are classed as ‘employees’ even though they are rarely called into work and can go weeks without any earning capacity. This makes a mockery of the officially produced employment figures when it includes what some feel is up to one million people on such contracts. Zero hours contracts have their place and use, but the system is open to abuse, which ultimately harms the employee.
The immediate effect of poverty in the UK is on the increase as the levels of need associated with food banks for example gain more and more publicity and exposure in the media. As much as the growing levels of poverty in the UK is concerning, it is the effect on the younger generation, which is of great concern here as children are being born into this culture and will view it as normality which could create a generational issue to combat for future governments.
Link to full article from The Independent:
See our video here highlighting the work we do to relieve poverty in the UK:-