Workhouse Britain

Record number of patients admitted to hospital with malnutrition:
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/08/17/record-number-patients-admitted-ae-malnutrition-amid-growing/

UK poverty of elderly worst in western Europe:
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/aug/18/elderly-poverty-risen-fivefold-since-80s-pensions?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

Children so poor they eat toilet paper:
https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/1166986/children-starving-free-school-meals-cut-eating-loo-paper-rubbish

Luxury retirement schemes to get luxury lending libraries

Meanwhile, in real life, libraries are closing all over the country.

“London book chain Foyles is to supply libraries to high-end retirement homes in a deal with a residential developer.

The partnership with Elysian Residences will launch at its development in Stanmore, north-west London, when it opens later this year, with a mix of biographies, travel writing, novels and specialist books selected by Foyles. Residents at the development, which aims to combine “UK development expertise with a US hospitality-led approach to care”, will be able to borrow from a collection maintained and refreshed every quarter by the book chain. Foyles is being paid a lump sum for the work.

“Libraries are an important cornerstone of a vibrant community, offering visitors a place of relaxation, learning and discovery,” said Elysian chief executive Gavin Stein. “We wanted to provide our residents with a relaxing reading environment curated with the latest high-quality books.”

The deal will also allow residents to order books, music and DVDs from Foyles via the Elysian concierge, as well as giving them access to Foyles’ foreign language books, classical and jazz music recordings. The Foyles libraries will then be rolled out across Elysian homes in London and the south east as they open.

This is the first time that the bookseller, founded by the Foyle family in 1903 and sold to Waterstones last year, has curated private libraries. It now hopes to find further such deals.

“This is a new and exciting venture for us, and we look forward to offering a service of the same high standard to which we hold each of our bookshops,” said general manager Stephen Clarke.”

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/aug/13/foyles-sets-up-libraries-for-high-end-retirement-homes-bookseller?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

“East Devon District Council gives out £223,000 in emergency housing payments”

The average house price in East Devon is £295,208 (Zoopla).

“Nearly 400 people struggling with their housing costs had to be helped out by East Devon District Council last year, to the tune of £223,400.

A spokeswoman for East Devon District Council said:

“We have helped around 287 customers who claimed housing benefit and 93 customers who were in receipt of Universal Credit housing costs.

“All awards were made to customers in difficulties, whether it was due to the benefit cap, removal of the spare room subsidy, LHA restrictions, in debt, struggling on a low income due to the welfare reforms, or a combination of those mentioned and other circumstances too.

“The awards have been to single people, couples, single parents, families, working-age or pensioners, with or without disability.

“Each customer’s circumstances are looked at on an individual basis.”

The amount spent on Discretionary Housing Payments in East Devon has increased by 23 per cent since they were introduced in 2013-14.

Last year the amount paid out exceeded the Government allocation of funding by £19,000, meaning East Devon had to use money from its benefits budget.

The chief executive of Shelter, Polly Neate, has criticised the system.

“Discretionary Housing Payments are vital in many cases and can be the difference between people losing their home or not, but they shouldn’t be a replacement for a fit-for-purpose welfare system,” she said.

“These payments shouldn’t be needed in the first place – they’re simply a quick fix to structural problems,” she said.

“To solve the underlying crisis for good, the Government must commit to building 3.1 million social homes in the next 20 years, as well as making sure housing benefit is enough to actually cover rents.”

A DWP spokeswoman said the Government spent £23 billion a year helping people in the UK with their housing costs.”

https://www.sidmouthherald.co.uk/news/discretionary-housing-payments-in-east-devon-1-6212190

Appalling rates of child poverty in Devon

“One in eight children live in poverty in Devon – and one in three in parts of Barnstaple.

The startling figures are revealed as part of a new Devon County Council strategy to create “Healthy and Happy Communities” in the county.

The strategy aims to address health and wellbeing challenges that the county faces and to address the considerable inequalities in health and poverty.

It states that there have been recent increases in child poverty and more people are accessing emergency food supplies, and that one in eight children (12.5%) are in poverty.

However in the Forches area of Barnstaple, one in three children are in poverty, compared to just 1.1% of children in the Teignmouth Road area of Dawlish.

Fuel poverty rates also fluctuate dramatically, with 27.9% of people living in Mount Pleasant in Exeter facing it, compared to just 3.6% in Douglas Avenue in Exmouth.

Life expectancy in Ilfracombe Central is just 75 years, compared to 90 in Liverton. While in Sidwell Street in Exeter, 8.2 per cent of 16-64 year-olds have a long term health issue, compared to just 0.8 per cent in Widecombe-in-the-Moor.

About 800,000 people live in Devon.

A consultation on the draft Devon Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy for 2020 to 2025, runs until 5 September.

The final version of the strategy is due to go to the Health and Wellbeing Board in October for approval.”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/uk-england-devon-49297960

We paid our 4 ex-Prime Ministers (now 5, and one ex-Deputy) more than half a million pounds last year

Public money spent on supporting the offices of Britain’s five surviving former leaders has jumped by nearly 80 per cent in six years – despite the fact that many of them have gone on to become independently wealthy after leaving 10 Downing Street.

New figures show the costs of supporting the offices of ex-PMs Sir John Major, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, David Cameron, as well as the former deputy PM Sir Nick Clegg, increased from £331,000 a year in 2013/14 – the first figures that are available – to £589,000 last year. …”

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/08/01/taxpayer-costs-paying-offices-four-former-pms-sir-nick-clegg/

“More than 4m in UK are trapped in deep poverty, study finds”

“More than 4 million people in the UK are trapped in deep poverty, meaning their income is at least 50% below the official breadline, locking them into a weekly struggle to afford the most basic living essentials, an independent study has shown.

The Social Metrics Commission also said 7 million people, including 2.3 million children, were affected by what it termed persistent poverty, meaning that they were not only in poverty but had been for at least two of the previous three years.

Highlighting evidence of rising levels of hardship in recent years among children, larger families, lone parent households and pensioners, the commission urged the new prime minister, Boris Johnson, to take urgent action to tackle growing poverty.

The commission’s chair, Philippa Stroud, a Conservative peer, said there was a pressing need for a concerted approach to the problem. “It is time to look again at our approach to children, and to invest in our children as the future of our nation,” she said.

Campaigners said the commission showed austerity had undermined two decades of anti-poverty policy. “By cutting £40bn a year from our work and pensions budget through cuts and freezes to tax credits and benefits, the government has put progress into reverse,” said Alison Garnham, the chief executive of Child Poverty Action Group.

The commission’s membership is drawn from experts across the political spectrum, and includes representatives from the Institute for Fiscal Studies, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the Office of the Children’s Commissioner. It was set up in 2016 to develop a new way of measuring poverty.

It found that of 14.3 million in the UK in poverty, 4.5 million were in deep poverty – a third of all those on the breadline, and 7% of the population. In cash terms this means a couple with two children would have an income of less than £211 a week after housing costs, and a single parent with one child would be on less than £101.50 a week. …”

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/jul/29/uk-deep-poverty-study-austerity?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

“Tally of £150,000 school academy bosses jumps by 20%”

“New concerns have been raised over the pay handed to academy school bosses after it emerged that almost 1,000 academy trusts paid a six-figure salary to at least one staff member last year.

A total of 988 trusts, the not-for-profit charities that oversee academy schools, had at least one person on £100,000 or more in 2017-18, with 146 paying £150,000 or more to at least one employee.

The proportion of trusts paying £150,000-plus salaries has risen by 20% in a year, with a 7.6% rise among those with at least one person above £100,000. The rise came despite an increase in the number of academy trusts in deficit, from 5.9 to 6.4%.

The official figures, released last week, will fuel criticisms of the government’s academies programme. There have already been rows over schools using their independence to pay big sums to senior management. It comes amid huge concern over the financial pressures on classrooms.

Academies are not part of nationally set pay structures so trusts are left free to set remuneration as they see fit. Most of the best-paid leaders in English schools are now trust chief executives, running groups of academies. Since last year ministers have written to 213 trusts with at least one person on £100,000 or more asking for justification. However, only 50 trusts had reduced remuneration.

Outside the academies system, it is relatively rare for a school leader to reach six figures. The top of the national pay range for headteachers, which applies to non-academy schools, was £116,738. This would be paid to a very small minority of leaders running large local authority secondary schools in London. …”

https://www.theguardian.com/education/2019/jul/28/number-150000-salary-school-academy-bosses-jumps-20-per-cent?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other