SC1067C Trends in Contemporary Society
It is sad but true that one out of five in the Britain’s population is affected by poverty. Nearly Thirteen million people live below poverty line in the UK. That is a massive amount to be dealt by government and non-governmental organisations.
A new report estimates that over five million people live in absolute poverty in Britain. The survey took its definition of absolute poverty from a 1995 United Nations statement which defines it as "a condition characterised by severe deprivation of basic human needs." The UN statement defined anyone lacking three or more of the following items as living in absolute poverty: food, safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, health, shelter, education and access to social security benefits.
"The survey, Breadline Europe: The Measurement of Poverty researched measurements of poverty across the continent and concluded that there were drastic levels of increase of poverty in the UK."(Robert Stevens, 2001)
As per Oxfam, an NGO working towards elimination of poverty in Britain, "3.8 million children in the UK are living in poverty. 2.2 million, pensioners in the UK are living in poverty. 7.2 million, working age adults in the UK are living in poverty. 70% of Bangladeshi children in the UK are poor. Women are the majority in the poorest groups. London has a higher proportion of people living in poverty than any other region in the UK." These statistics are shocking but true. The UK is trying hard to fight against the social stigma called poverty.
The question arises that what poverty means in the UK. An average family affected by poverty does not have enough to eat, unable to heat their homes, does not have adequate warm clothing, and enough money to cope with unforeseen events. They are struggling more than the rest of us to get a proper education, a decent job and make real choices about what they want to do with their lives. And to top it off, most of them face situations where they are being looked down upon and discriminated because of their situation. Poverty in the UK exists alongside high economic prosperity in a wealthy country. This has lead to large disparities in income and wealth. It has a negative impact on people living on low-incomes.
The latest income inequality data for the UK suggests that over the last decade inequality has been pretty much unchanged. Analysis from the Office of National Statistics says the UK’s Gini coefficient, which is an internationally accepted measure for measuring inequalities in household income, climbed in 2005/06 after falling between 2001 and 2005. The reason is more unequal distribution of earnings from employment and self-employment, rather than a result of changes in taxes and benefits payments. The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has investigated some of the possible explanations for the higher level of inequality that has persisted since the late 1980s. They include an increase in the gap between wages for skilled and unskilled workers, perhaps because of technology change. the decline in trade union power. and falling participation in the labour market by male workers (who are higher paid on average than female workers).
Poverty is caused by circumstances beyond an individual’s control like gender, nationality, ethnic origin etc. All over the world, women and people from ethnic minority groups are likely to be poorer than the general population. The same is true in the UK. As per Oxfam, "Sixty-nine per cent of Bangladeshi and