who has lived in poverty knows that it is not a life of luxury, but
one of hard grind. Millions of people throughout the country are
faced with desperate choices, not, for example, whether to buy Nike
or Reebok, but whether to pay the rent or feed their children.
Rowntree Foundation warned that
inflation could push a further four million people below the poverty
line, and research at The Equality Trust has found 6.5 million
households are in debt, or face the prospect of falling into debt
within a month, should they lose their jobs.
find themselves trapped in low-skilled, low-paid jobs with little
opportunity for promotion or advancement.
this many are squeezed by cuts to social security, and while they are
doing everything humanly possible, budgeting carefully, and
stretching every penny, they’re still struggling. One thing that hasn’t changed is people blaming the indigent for their poverty; since the 1880s, the upper and middle class have had no sympathy for the variability in income and the lack of social safety net for working-class people. The upper class viewed poor people as lazy or unwilling to work, and they still do.
year the Office
of National Statistics produces its Family Spending Survey
a huge release of data on the spending habits of households, broken
down by income decile. It
shows that far from blowing huge sums of money on luxury items,
unsurprisingly, most poorer households spend very little on anything
beyond the absolute essentials.
In fact, the richest 10% of
households spend considerably more per week on furniture and
furnishings (£34.50), than the poorest spend on food (£30.40). They
also spend more on their pets (£7.90 a week) than the poorest do on
clothing and footwear (£6.30). Before you ask, no, it’s not all
the money wasted on booze and fags either. The richest 10% spends as
much on alcohol and tobacco each week as the poorest do on their gas
and electricity bills (£17.70).