Action Card - November 2020
Poverty in the UK
u In the UK in 2019: Absolute poverty has risen by 200,000 to 3.7 million children
u Relative Child Poverty remained broadly stable at 4.1 million
u 70% of these children now come from working families - up from 67% last year
u 53% of children in poverty are aged under five.
Since the 2020 lockdown it is estimated that 6 million people in the UK have not been able to pay their bills. Poor areas
continue to face the problems they have faced for many years, including early deaths, a high crime rate, suicides, drugs,
alcoholism and very high unemployment.
Here is the story of just one person, normally a worker with the ĎBig Issueí, who suffered during the lockdown:
ĎI lived in a flat, walking up and down on my own. I kept in touch with the Manchester ĎBig Issue office and I got
some money from the hardship fund <http://easydonate.org/HARDSHIP> to help me out but it didnít replace the money
that I would make selling the magazine. I also missed my regular customers. I know that they were all asking when I was
coming back to sell. ĎIím back on my pitch and itís lovely to see all my customersí
During the lockdown I wasnít very well. I was very depressed, very down. I tried to commit suicide at one point. I went up
on the roof. I was three floors up. Someone saw me and called the police and the fire brigade. The police were trying to talk
to me but I wouldnít listen to them. And then someone from the fire brigade came and put a rope around me and pulled me
back. I was taken to hospital and spent a week there.
I needed some more tablets for my depression but I couldnít get to the doctors to get them. Iím in rent arrears and I also
owe loads of money on my electric. I was very worried about money. When I was on lockdown I couldnít take any more.
Now Iíve got my medication sorted out. That helps a lot but Iím still worried about money. I work as long as I can but Iím
not earning a lot. Itís hard at the moment as lots of my customers arenít using cash, only cards. I canít get a card machine
because I donít have a bank account. Iím hoping for the next couple of years that Iím going to carry on selling Big Issue
North, but I would like to get a different job one day. I was a gardener in Leeds and I would like to go back to doing that. I
havenít been able to do any gardening recently because I live in a flat.í
Actions might include:
Buy the ĎBig Issueí to support peopleís efforts to earn a living and achieve independence.
Support charities working to improve the lot of poor children..
Write to your MP about the levels of poverty in the UK today and suggest ways forward for your own area.