THIS THURSDAY PROTEST AGAINST POVERTY – ANYONE FREE TO HELP OUT?
This Thursday (5th Dec), from 10am to 5pm, I will be handcuffing myself to a bench outside WHSmiths on St Mary Street in Weymouth Town Centre to protest about, and to highlight, the appalling levels of poverty that now exist – nationally and locally as well as the return of ‘Victorian era’ diseases!
I am recruiting a small group of people to support me, handing out flyers with poverty information and chatting to the public. If you are able to help (even just for a short while) please send me a message (comment below or a private message if we’re Facebook friends).
Whilst poverty is clearly a result of government policies, this is not a party political event – it is to protest and highlight the massive and important issue of poverty!
The forecast is for dry weather on Thursday but it’ll be chilly, so do wrap up warm if you’re able to help.
Here is the information from the flyer. Feel free to reproduce and share this widely!
Thanks a million, Lovely People!!
POVERTY – THE NATIONAL PICTURE
There are now 14 million people living in poverty in the UK.
Since 2010, childhood poverty (which had been reduced to 20%) has risen alarmingly to over 30%. That’s over 4.1 million children living in poverty. Current estimates based on the government’s policies are that this will rise to 5.2 million by 2022.
Already, over 30% of our children are living in poverty and this rises to over 50% in many deprived areas.
30% of our children living in poverty is 9 in every classroom of 30! Teachers across the country are reporting children turning up to school hungry and even scavenging in dustbins for food scraps.
Similarly, in the last 10 years, the poverty rate for pensioners has increased so that now 1 in every 6 pensioners lives in poverty. The figures are higher for pensioners who are single or who live in rented accommodation. More than 1 in 3 pensioners in rented accommodation are now living in poverty.
A third of a million more pensioners are now in poverty compared with 2012-13.
The primary reasons are acknowledged as rising housing costs (in the rented sector), reduced housing benefit eligibility and a reduction in private pension income.
The most damaging change has been that the support previously provided by Housing Benefit has been undermined, and ‘eligible rents’ have been falling behind the actual rents paid by low-income pensioners.
POVERTY LOCALLY IN WEYMOUTH & PORTLAND
In 2017, Weymouth & Portland had the lowest average wages in the UK at £283.40 a week.
In 2018, a quarter of all jobs in Weymouth & Portland paid less than the Living Minimum Wage.
In 2018-19, Council Tax was the second-highest in the country.
Today, 30% of children across Weymouth & Portland live in poverty, rising to 39% in Weymouth East and Melcombe Regis, and 43% in Underhill.
There are 12 local areas in Dorset within the top 20% of the most deprived in the UK. 9 of these are in Weymouth & Portland!
Social mobility in South Dorset – the life chances of our children – is now the lowest in England – rock bottom of 533 areas. The Chief Executive of Dorset Council called this “Dorset’s Shame”.
MALNUTRITION AND THE SHOCKING RETURN OF ‘VICTORIAN DISEASES’
The NHS reports that admissions to English hospitals for malnutrition have risen dramatically from 3,161 in 2008-9 to 10,183 in 2018-9. That’s a 322% increase in the last ten years.
NHS figures released for 2017-18 showed a significant increase in the number of ‘Victorian Era’ diseases including Rickets, Scurvy, Cholera and Scarlet Fever.
Rickets is symptomatic of Vitamin D deficiency and malnutrition. 70% of those admitted were children aged 9 and under and this is symptomatic of the growing child food poverty.
Sources: NHS England / NHS Digital
Child Poverty Action Group
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation
Weymouth & Portland Action on Wages