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

“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

“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

“Child poverty cash handed back to Europe unspent”

“More than £3.5m intended to alleviate child poverty and homelessness is at risk of being wasted because the government has failed to spend it, says a House of Lords committee.

Peers have written to the Home Office saying it is “extraordinary” that the EU funding has not been used.

They warn that some of the cash has already been forfeited and are worried about the rest being handed back.

The government said there had been “barriers” over spending the money.
But peers have written to complain that after almost six years, the government has failed to deliver spending aimed at addressing “the worst forms of poverty”.

About £580,000 of unspent cash has so far been taken back – and a further similar amount is at risk of being deducted at the end of the year. …”

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-49131685

“State schools choose ‘posh’ uniforms to exclude poor pupils, says MP”

“Some schools are deliberately pricing school uniforms beyond the means of poorer families so “only posh kids go there”, MPs have been told.

Emma Hardy, the Labour MP for Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle, has written to the education secretary, Damian Hinds, asking him to tell schools to stop forcing parents to buy branded school uniforms.

She said that academies in particular were “emulating grammar schools and private schools” in prescribing prohibitively expensive uniforms – including branded blazers and even socks.

She had also been told that some academies deliberately chose expensive suppliers in order to put off parents of lesser means, and that some schools received a cut from suppliers given the exclusive contract for their uniforms.

“People have told me confidentially that schools get money from suppliers,” said Hardy. …

A survey from the Children’s Society last year found families were shelling out more on school uniforms with an average of £340 per year for each child at secondary school – an increase of 7% or £24 since 2015. Parents of primary school children spent on average £255, an increase of 2% since 2015.

The research found nearly one in six families said school uniform costs were to blame for them having to cut back on food and other basic essentials compared to one in seven in 2015.

In England, local authorities and academy trusts may choose to provide school clothing grants or to help with the cost of school clothing in cases of financial hardship.

In Wales, a Pupil Development Grant can provide £125 to buy school uniform, equipment, sports kit and kit for activities outside of school. In Scotland, parents may be able to get financial help with their child’s school clothing and shoes through a school clothing grant, available from local councils.”

https://www.theguardian.com/education/2019/jul/23/state-schools-choosing-expensive-uniforms-to-exclude-poor-pupils-says-mp?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other