Making UK Poverty History | Poverty

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We know that poverty doesn't only exist in developing countries. Not everyone who lives in the wealthier countries of the world is a rich, privileged consumer. Many have been left behind in a parallel financial universe, living from hand to mouth with no bank account, few local shops, and constantly juggling bills and debts. The figures paint a bleak picture. In Britain, one in five people is living inpoverty, many of whom go without basic necessities such as a warm coatand decent shoes. Poor children are disadvantaged even before they areborn. A child born into poverty is more likely to weigh less at birth, and is twice as likely to die before his or her first birthday, or to leave school without qualifications, than one from a more affluent family. Whilst material poverty is more severe in developing countries, the underlying causes, the ways in which people are affected and the way they are treated, are very similar. In Britain, as in many other countries, there is unequal power and wealth and a lack of political will to put poverty at the top of the agenda.
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  Making UK poverty history  T  h e  wor s t  bl ow o f  a l l  i s  t  h e  con t e mp t  o f    your   f e l l owci  t i z e ns. I a nd ma n  y  f a mi l i e s l i  v e  i n  t  h a  t  con t e mp t . I   just  f e e l  v e r   y a ngr   y some t i me s t h a t  pe opl e  a r e  i gnor a nt  of  t h e  f a ct  t h a t  we  a r e  h uma ns a s we l l  a nd we  do ne e d t o be  r e spe ct e d. A s ing le paren t o f  t hree c h i ldren  from Nor t h London Nur ser y  nur se f r om C ov ent r y   This booklet has been produced by: British Overseas NGOs for Development (BOND) BOND is the UK’s broadest network of 290 voluntary organisationsworking in international development. www.bond.org.uk End Child Poverty Coalition End Child Poverty is a coalition of organisations from the voluntary,private and public sectors campaigning to ensure that the goal of eradicating child poverty becomes a reality. www.ecpc.org.uk Oxfam’s UK Poverty Programme This programme was created in 1996, in response to the growth inpoverty and inequality in the UK. Oxfam’s experience of working withcommunities around the world brings new perspectives and approachesto tackling poverty at home. www.oxfamgb.org/ukpp Trades Union Congress (TUC) With member unions representing over six and a half million workingpeople, the TUC campaigns for a fair deal at work and for social justiceat home and abroad. TUC Unemployed Workers CentresThere are more than fifty TUC Unemployed Workers Centres acrossBritain, providing advice and representation on welfare issues. Theirstaff and volunteers are visited daily by claimants suffering from povertyand a benefit system which appears stacked against them, and theyrespond by campaigning with unemployed people for a better way. www.tuc.org.uk 2 Making UK poverty history   3 Making UK poverty history Contents Poverty in the UK? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 What is poverty in the UK really like? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 What can Ido? Finding out more . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Who are we talking about? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 What can Ido? Raising awareness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Poverty facts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Why do people live in poverty? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 What about benefits? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 What is the government doing about poverty? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 What can Ido? Lobbying for change . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Are fewer people living in poverty? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 What can Ido? Rising to challenges . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 What about the gap between rich and poor? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 What can we do? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 ‘Get Heard’– giving people in poverty a voice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 A tale of London citizens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 What can Ido? Changing the way you live . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19  Poverty in the UK? In 2005, MAKE POVERTY HISTORY mobilised millions of people.Together they challenged wealthy governments to do more totackle poverty in developing countries. The campaign has beenremarkably successful in changing people’s attitudes to povertyand in getting politicians to listen and act. Whereas before many people believed that debt relief and fairer trade were important, few thought that governments – in the UK and elsewhere –could be made to prioritise global poverty. That has all changed now.But we know that poverty doesn’t only exist in developing countries. Noteveryone who lives in the wealthier countries of the world is a rich, privilegedconsumer. Many have been left behind in a parallel financial universe, livingfrom hand to mouth with no bank account, few local shops, and constantlyjuggling bills and debts.The figures paint a bleak picture. In Britain, one in five people is living inpoverty, 1 many of whom go without basic necessities such as a warm coat and decent shoes. 2 Poor children are disadvantaged even before they are born. A child born into poverty is more likely to weigh less at birth, and is twice as likely to die before his or her first birthday, 3 or to leave school without qualifications, than one from a more affluent family. Whilst material poverty ismore severe in developingcountries, the underlyingcauses, the ways in whichpeople are affected and theway they are treated, are verysimilar. In Britain, as in manyother countries, there isunequal power and wealthand a lack of political will to put poverty at the top of the agenda. A commonly used measure is thatthose living on less than 60 per centof median disposable income areliving in poverty – that’s £98 per weekfor a single person with no children,£182 for a lone parent with twochildren (aged 5 and 11) and £210 fora couple with one young child. How is poverty measured? 4 Making UK poverty history
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