This is what it means to live in Tory Britain.
On the 27th of April the Joseph Rowntree Foundation published a report on destitution in the UK. In summary the report tells of 1.25 million destitute people living in this country. This is not just poverty; it is over a million people, 300,000 of them children, who are deprived of regular meals, are regularly unable to stay warm and dry or even clean.
This is in the seventh largest economy in the world.
I have heard it said that this is “their own fault” they should “get a job” they are “skivers” and “work shy” or it’s the immigrants coming here to live off our “generous benefits”. Nothing could be further from the truth. The report highlights that these folk have been very poor for a very long time and it takes very little to push them into destitution. And most of the tipping points are not of their making. As the report makes clear the main reasons for falling into destitution are:
- the extra costs of ill health and disability;
- high costs of housing and other essential bills;
- a financial shock like a benefit sanction or delay, as well as low levels of benefits for some groups;
- debt repayments particularly from social fund loans and benefit overpayments owed to DWP, council tax arrears owed to local councils, rent arrears, and debts to utility companies.
None if this is in the individuals control and much of the problem is exacerbated by this government’s policies. And just for clarity, this government’s official definition of destitution can only be found in asylum legislation.
Shame on them.