Child Poverty in the UK
1. The Government has a statutory requirement, enshrined in the Child Poverty Act 2010 , to end child poverty by 2020. However, it is predicted that by 2020/21 ANOTHER 1 MILLION CHILDREN will be pushed into poverty as a result of the Coalition Government’s policies’. (Barnardo’s ).
2. In the UK the share of national wealth is;
a. The richest 10% own the 60% of the UK’s wealth
b. The poorest 50% own less than 10% of the UK’s wealth.
c. The have-nots numbering about 5% own nothing.
The statistics are little changed from 1914, (the start of World war 10), the rich get richer and the poor get poorer
3. In Scotland, 870 000 people still live in poverty (17% of the population). 200,000 children in Scotland still live in poverty (20% of all children). this is significantly higher that in many other comparable countries. Faced with another 5 years of harsh austerity measures projections are that the number of children living in poverty in Scotland will increase by a further 100,000.
Inequalities in Health and Well-being
4. Inequalities in health, between the most and least privileged people and communities, are clearly apparent in Scotland. WHOLE life expectancy, at birth for men is;
a. 69 years for the most deprived 10% of the population.
b. 82 years for the least deprived 10%.
(a difference of 13 years).
5. The difference in HEALTHY life expectancy was even more stark;
a. 47 years for men in the most deprived 10% of the population.
b. 70 years for least deprived 10%.
(a difference of 23 years).
6. In many constituencies of Glasgow age expectancy differences are even more marked. Significant numbers fail to reach 60 years before dying. Of note and worthy of mention is that Labour Party MP’s are routinely returned to Westminster in these areas. Clearly these representatives have failed the public. Voters need to give thought to changing their allegiances finding politicians and a political system that will deliver real improvements to Glasgow & Strathclyde. An independent Scotland presents as an ideal way forward allowing the desperate needs of the West of Scotland to be addressed speedily since they will be freed from the UK poverty chain.
7. The foregoing very worrying statistics demonstrate how social inequalities in a range of life chances (early life experiences, education, employment, family life, income and wealth, housing, environmental hazards, etc.) can become literally, “embodied” and shape people’s health and longevity. Such differences are clearly unacceptable by any standards of social justice.
The Relentless Rise of Food Poverty in Britain
8. The UK enjoys the seventh richest economy in the world. It is also a deeply divided and unequal society. In May 2014, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that the richest 1% own the same amount of wealth as 54 percent of the population. It was also reported in the same month, (Sunday Times) that the 1,000 richest people in the country had DOUBLED their wealth in five years.
9. Yet at the same time, millions of families across the UK are living below the breadline. Oxfam and Church Action on Poverty have calculated that 20,247,042 meals were given to people in food poverty in 2013/14 by the three main food aid providers. This is a 54% increase on 2012/13.
10. Despite their best efforts, many people cannot earn enough to live on. UK food prices have increased by 43.5% in the eight years to July 2013 and food expenditure as a proportion of total household expenditure has continued to rise.
11. The UK has one of the highest levels of housing costs in Europe, while between 2010 and 2013 energy prices for households rose by 37 per cent. At the same time, low and stagnant wages, insecure and zero-hours contracts mean that for many low-income households, the money they are bringing home is less every month than their essential outgoings.
12. Tackling inequality and food poverty means paying people fairly for their work. Despite their best efforts, many people cannot earn enough to live on. A , “No” vote in the referendum would bring with it ever more misery and early death for Scot’s. A, “Yes” vote will ensure election of a Scottish government with a mandate to address the needs and aspirations of all Scot’s. Full article and references;
http://www.nhsforyes.org/child-health-inequalities-and-child-poverty/ Dr Anne Mullin, a GP in Glasgow.