More families living below the poverty line

Be it Windy Bank or Windermere, Liversedge or London for the first time, there are more people in working families living below the poverty line (6.7 million) than workless and retired families living in poverty (6.3 million).

This is according to the 2013 report published by the Joseph Rowntree foundation.

Having suffered a sustained and ‘unprecedented’ fall in their living standards, working people are facing a cost of living crisis, now being £1,600 worse off since David Cameron became prime minister, with millions of people moving in and out of work but rarely out of poverty.

Perhaps one should consider that the rise in local food banks is clear evidence of the dilemma working families face today. Poorer members of society are under more pressure than at any time since the birth of the welfare state.

The value of the safety net for working age adults is now sinking steadily and the support on offer to people who fall on hard times is diminishing, with benefit levels on a downward spiral.

A strong safety net to catch those who fall is vital for social mobility, as millions are saved by it every year. No surprise then that Pay Day loan companies seek to capitalise from the current situation that families find themselves in.

With self-employment dominated by low wages and 900,000 young people unemployed George Osborne states “we are too reliant on consumer spending and the City of London” to change any of the current economic policies. Mark Carney Governor of the Bank of England suggests “the recovery is neither balanced or stable”.

With almost 13 million people now living in poverty in the UK, 400,000 families have been hit by overlapping benefit cuts including the under-occupation penalty (commonly known as the “bedroom tax”) two thirds of these families were already in poverty.

Is it now time for Westminster to wake up to the need for policies that create a fairer society and acknowledge the fact that whilst the poor might be blessed and one day see the Kingdom of God, the current economic climate is not their fault.

MARTIN RACE

Hartshead