It is all so easy to blame poor people for being mired in poverty. They have character flaws such as laziness. Poverty is their problem, not ours.
It is easy to demonstrate how expensive it is to be poor. Poor people have to deal with old rust-bucket cars that are forever breaking down, resulting in costly repairs and sometimes loss of jobs for missing work. They have to pay fines for paying their bills late. They live in draughty, damp homes with little insulation, resulting in large utility bills. They pay huge amounts of interest on loans. Poverty breeds despair. Wouldn’t you despair if you couldn’t afford food, pay your mortgage or meet your utility bills? Despair leads to alcoholism and drug abuse, which can lead to crime and prison. Poverty is misery.
The Telegraph review of the BBC documentary, Poor Kids, (will be broadcast at 10.35pm on 7 June on BBC One) writes tht one in five families in poverty reports regularly skipping meals. It shows hungry children going to the fridge, only to be greeted by a single tub of margarine, a half-drunk carton of milk and an open tin of chopped tomatoes.
Sam is 12 years old and predicts that people will be starving in Britain soon. "They're raising the price of food and losing the jobs." He can't see how people will be able to eat. Sam mimes the endless juggling his father has to do, just to keep the family afloat. "Food-debt-food-debt-food-debt."