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  1. Published on: 07/06/2018 10:59 AMReported by: roving-eye
    The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) is calling for the redesign of the social security system to ensure that nobody in the UK is left without the bare essentials that we all need to eat, stay warm and dry, and keep clean.



    Today’s report found that more than one and a half million people (1,550,000) were in destitution at some point in 2017, including 365,000 children. This is more people than the populations of Birmingham and Liverpool combined.

    Levels of destitution have declined by around 25% between 2015 and 2017, and a reduction in benefit sanctions appears to be the most significant factor behind this.

    For those left destitute, JRF has identified that social security policies and practice can in many cases directly lead to destitution “by design” - from gaps, flaws and choices within the social security system - meaning that people are being left without support when they most need it.

    People were defined as destitute in this study if they or their children have lacked two or more of the following six essentials over the past month because they cannot afford them, or their income is so low, less than £10 per day for a single person (excluding housing costs), that they have been unable to purchase them for themselves:

    Shelter (have slept rough for one or more nights)
    Food (have had fewer than two meals a day for two or more days)
    Heating their home (have been unable to do this for five or more days)
    Lighting their home (have been unable to do this for five or more days)
    Appropriate clothing and footwear
    Basic toiletries (soap, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrush)
    These are the main factors tipping people into destitution:

    low benefit levels, delays in receiving benefits and sanctions
    harsh and uncoordinated debt recovery practices by public authorities and utility companies
    pressures caused by poor health or disability
    high costs for housing and other essentials.
    People largely become destitute following longer-term experiences of poverty, with single, younger men at highest risk. Three quarters of those in destitution were born in the UK and rates are highest in northern English and Scottish cities and some London boroughs.

    Campbell Robb, Chief Executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, commented:

    “Many of us rely on public services such as social security when hit with unexpected circumstances like job loss, relationship breakdown or ill health. Yet actions by government, local authorities and utility companies are leading to ‘destitution by design’: forcing people into a corner when they are penniless and have nowhere to turn. This is shameful.

    “Social security should be an anchor holding people steady against powerful currents such as rising costs, insecure housing and jobs, and low pay, but people are instead becoming destitute with no clear way out.

    “To be destitute doesn’t just mean getting by on very little, it’s losing the ability to keep a roof over your head, eat often enough, or afford warm clothes when it’s cold. You can’t keep yourself clean or put the lights on. This shouldn’t happen to anybody, let alone over one and a half million people in the UK.

    “It doesn’t have to be this way. The reduction in benefit sanction rates has meant that some welcome headway has been made, but there is a real risk that once Universal Credit is embedded across the country, more people could again be at risk unless we make changes

    “We all want to live in a society where we protect each other from harm, and we need to put things right to protect people from this degrading experience. We can start by redesigning our social security system so that it provides the basic protection people need.”

    Food was cited as the most commonly-lacked item, with 62% within the group reporting that they had gone without over the past month. Nearly half (47%) had lacked basic toiletries, with 46% lacking suitable clothing and 42% having to go without heating.

    One in five people who were destitute reported lacking lighting at home, and 16% had recently slept rough. Nearly half of all destitute households reported lacking three or more of these essentials in the month before they were surveyed.

    One man in the study said: "They made me go eight weeks without any money…I did have to live basically out of a food bank… [and]… how can I pay for heating and that when I didn't have any money coming in?"

    Depression, severe stress and anxiety were commonly reported, with a few interviewees saying that they had felt suicidal. The lack of essentials and inability to maintain a sense of personal dignity undermined mental health and well-being. Destitution dented people's confidence, leaving them dispirited and resigned.

    JRF is calling on the UK Government to:

    End the freeze on working-age benefits so they at least keep up with the cost of essentials.
    Change the use of sanctions within Universal Credit so that people are not left destitute by design.
    Review the total amount of debt that can be clawed back from people receiving benefits, so they can keep their heads above water.
    Professor Suzanne Fitzpatrick, Director, The Institute for Social Policy, Housing and Equalities Research (I-SPHERE), Heriot-Watt University and lead author of the research said:

    “It is clear from the people we spoke to that destitution has a huge impact not only on the practicalities of life but on people’s dignity. Destitution has many different causes such as sickness and ill health, debt, or even the direct result of social security policy, especially the sanctioning regime. Most often it’s the end point of a build-up of problems associated with deep and ongoing experiences of poverty.

    “While no-one should ever have to be destitute, we estimate that levels have declined by around a quarter since 2015. This is good news. It’s likely that this has been driven by a decline in benefit sanction rates and falling unemployment and immigration.

    “However, the apparent higher levels of sanctions in Universal Credit are a sharp warning that destitution could increase again as the new benefit expands in the coming years. Rebooting and improving the funding for local welfare assistance in England is one element of a package to provide the crisis support that people in destitution need.”

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    Your Comments:


  3. Gwhizz says:07/06/2018 12:02 PM
    I wonder if Damien Moore will be trying to spin this as another Tory "success" in his next leaflet?

  4. local says:07/06/2018 01:07 PM
    "Levels of destitution have declined by around 25% between 2015 and 2017, and a reduction in benefit sanctions appears to be the most significant factor behind this"


    Maybe Damien read this.

  5. salus.populi says:07/06/2018 02:23 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by local View Post
    "Levels of destitution have declined by around 25% between 2015 and 2017, and a reduction in benefit sanctions appears to be the most significant factor behind this"


    Maybe Damien read this.
    So the Conservatives ramped up benefit sanctions to plunge people into destituition then ease off a bit in order to claim that a small reduction is a success?

  6. local says:07/06/2018 02:35 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by salus.populi View Post
    So the Conservatives ramped up benefit sanctions to plunge people into destituition then ease off a bit in order to claim that a small reduction is a success?

    More likely they fiddles around with the system during its implementation.

    Still what do you do with people who simply think the state ie us owes them a living,

    what would you do ?

  7. salus.populi says:07/06/2018 02:41 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by local View Post
    More likely they fiddles around with the system during its implementation.

    Still what do you do with people who simply think the state ie us owes them a living,

    what would you do ?
    I'd just accept that there isn't enough work for everyone of working age. I'd ensure those without work had enough to survive with the most modest of lifestyles whilst anyone in work was paid enough by their employer to live a better lifestyle than anyone out of work.

    As there aren't enough jobs for everyone does it really matter that a small percentage of the unemployed aren't too bothered about getting a job? What's the point of forcing them to spend their time looking for work that isn't there and depriving them of the minimum funds required for survival if they are deemed to be not trying hard enough?

    If you're concerned about your tax being spent on such people you really ought to be more concerned that implementing and administering sanctions costs more than it saves.
    Last edited by salus.populi; 07/06/2018 at 03:22 PM.

  8. dav says:07/06/2018 03:38 PM
    Largely the effects of continuing mass immigration from those with no skills to offer, no facility with the language and no interest in being productive members of society. Also why the NHS is overstretched, our benefit system collapsing, and our housing supply inadequate for our quickly expanding population .... but don't let that worry the lefties at the JRF.

  9. local says:07/06/2018 04:39 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by salus.populi View Post
    I'd just accept that there isn't enough work for everyone of working age. I'd ensure those without work had enough to survive with the most modest of lifestyles whilst anyone in work was paid enough by their employer to live a better lifestyle than anyone out of work.

    As there aren't enough jobs for everyone does it really matter that a small percentage of the unemployed aren't too bothered about getting a job? What's the point of forcing them to spend their time looking for work that isn't there and depriving them of the minimum funds required for survival if they are deemed to be not trying hard enough?

    If you're concerned about your tax being spent on such people you really ought to be more concerned that implementing and administering sanctions costs more than it saves.
    There's plenty to be done, why pay people to do nothing ? surely some contribution to society is a better example particularly with the young.

    Sanctions like any "stick" are more expensive to use but the idea is to put people off not making an effort.

    Not many people would like to be waved off to a hard days work by a neighbour in their pyjamas heading back to bed living in a housing association home paid for by them and with more security.

    For some in this town that's their day to day reality.

  10. salus.populi says:07/06/2018 04:57 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by local View Post
    There's plenty to be done, why pay people to do nothing ? surely some contribution to society is a better example particularly with the young.
    Oh i agree there's plenty work that could be done, so why not create jobs for it?

    Not many people would like to be waved off to a hard days work by a neighbour in their pyjamas heading back to bed living in a housing association home paid for by them and with more security.

    For some in this town that's their day to day reality.
    Can you provide any actual examples of where this exact scenario has happened?

  11. Gwhizz says:07/06/2018 06:30 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by dav View Post
    Largely the effects of continuing mass immigration from those with no skills to offer, no facility with the language and no interest in being productive members of society. Also why the NHS is overstretched, our benefit system collapsing, and our housing supply inadequate for our quickly expanding population .... but don't let that worry the lefties at the JRF.
    Dav gushing his usual bile - it's all down to those pesky migrants - you know the ones that the studies find are a huge benefit to the economy, keep our NHS going, farmers say they can't get their crops in without etc. etc.

    Nowt at all to do with austerity, lack of building homes, chronic underfunding of NHS... or indeed, perish the thought, anything that the report itself reveals; no siree... all just tickety-boo here!

    In the next thrilling instalment of The World According to Dav - Windrush was just a misunderstood Tory free flights promotion.

  12. gazaprop says:08/06/2018 08:29 AM
    It's not great to blame migrants for the ills that benight this sceptered isle but a few obvious truths do have to be acknowledged in debunking this 'benefit to the economy myth'.
    Amongst these is the reason why a large proportion of migrant workers come to this country in the first place and that is to earn money to send home to support families in their home country. If they are not doing that and don't intend to settle here then they save a large proportion of their wage to fund a better future back home - this is money which would previously have benefited our economy but now no longer does.

    Many of the jobs are low paid and so do not generate large inputs of tax revenue into the exchequer's coffers. If the worker brings his family then low pay will qualify them for benefits which again dilutes any benefit to the economy.
    In certain sectors such as agriculture the workers are provided by foreign based agencies which again does little to benefit our economy.

    I am not criticising them in any way - who amongst us would not take advantage of another countries opportunities to provide a vastly better standard of life for our families.

  13. salus.populi says:08/06/2018 08:47 AM
    I'd love to know how low paid agricultural workers manage to live here AND send money back home to support a family.

  14. Albion102 says:08/06/2018 09:38 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by dav View Post
    Largely the effects of continuing mass immigration from those with no skills to offer, no facility with the language and no interest in being productive members of society. .
    Mirror, mirror on the wall. Pretty much describes the whole membership of the EDL

  15. gazaprop says:08/06/2018 10:16 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by salus.populi View Post
    I'd love to know how low paid agricultural workers manage to live here AND send money back home to support a family.
    I could go into a long discourse on relative economic climates and provision of accomodation but I wont - have a think yourself - you'll get there.

  16. salus.populi says:08/06/2018 11:29 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by gazaprop View Post
    I could go into a long discourse on relative economic climates and provision of accomodation but I wont - have a think yourself - you'll get there.
    No no please do, preferably.with some maths and case studies.


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