UK poverty levels in violation of international law
Last month, the United Nations poverty envoy, Olivier De Schutter, stated that the UK is in violation of international law due to the poverty levels currently being experienced. This came five years after his predecessor accused the government of the ‘systematic immiseration of a significant part of the British population’.
Read this article to find out more: UK ‘in violation of international law’ over poverty levels, says UN envoy | Poverty | The Guardian
Poverty facts and figures
Some of the latest figures from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation state that of the 14.4 million people in poverty in 2021/22, 8.1 million people were working-age adults, 4.2 million were children, and 2.1 million were pensioners. Over half of people living in poverty are from a family where at least one adult is working, and over 70% of children in poverty live in a working family.
In 2022, over 574,000 people were supported by food banks, which increased from 214,000 in 2019. Between April 2022 and March 2023, The Trussell Trust distributed nearly 3 million food parcels.
These statistics are horrifying and they are not getting any better.
Martin, a single parent from Halifax, told Church Action on Poverty:
“I just snack; I don’t eat proper meals. The children always shave to come first and I just eat small bits here and there. I sometimes go all day without eating…and I know that if I can keep that food in the cupboard a bit longer, that’s another day of survival”.
Martin is unable to work, forcing him to rely on the benefits system, which should help and support him and his family, but instead has made things worse.
“The amount paid in benefits means you’re facing impossible situations…If I need a new pair of shoes, I need to take money off what I have for food” .
Hear more of Martin’s story here: Speaking Truth to Power – Church Action on Poverty (church-poverty.org.uk)
How can we respond to this?
Give to your local foodbank – they are likely to be experiencing high demand but be short on donations. You could also give your time, and volunteer there too.
Write to your MP about the Essentials Guarantee – listen to this short podcast episode to find out more about the Essentials Guarantee.
Act by signing up to Let’s End Poverty – a growing movement of people and organisations who are united behind a vision for a UK where poverty can’t keep anyone down.