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View Full Version : Hunger in the U. K. "is a public health emergency"



C. Flower
04-12-2013, 01:14 PM
A group of medical experts and researchers has written to the British Medical Journal warning that there is a public health emergency because low incomes and benefits cuts leave people without enough money to buy food.

350,000 people., one third of whom are children, rely on food banks.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/food-poverty-in-uk-has-reached-level-of-public-health-emergency-warn-experts-8981051.html

The British working class for much of the twentieth century had a good diet, and good incomes, based on Britain's role as "workshop of the world" and imperial power. For the last few decades living standards were increasingly reliant on the worldwide credit bubble. With more cuts now in social benefits in the UK and less skilled manufacture work, the globalisation of manufacture is being followed by globalisation of poverty and hunger.

Ceannaire
04-12-2013, 02:28 PM
A group of medical experts and researchers has written to the British Medical Journal warning that there is a public health emergency because low incomes and benefits cuts leave people without enough money to buy food.

350,000 people., one third of whom are children, rely on food banks.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/food-poverty-in-uk-has-reached-level-of-public-health-emergency-warn-experts-8981051.html

The British working class for much of the twentieth century had a good diet, and good incomes, based on Britain's role as "workshop of the world" and imperial power. For the last few decades living standards were increasingly reliant on the worldwide credit bubble. With more cuts now in social benefits in the UK and less skilled manufacture work, the globalisation of manufacture is being followed by globalisation of poverty and hunger.


They are targeting welfare recipients in a way that goes far beyond any money-saving rationale. It certainly suits them to make life so horrific for the poor that an indirect purpose is served by terrifying workers who might think of causing trouble from doing so in case they lose their jobs.

C. Flower
04-12-2013, 04:08 PM
They are targeting welfare recipients in a way that goes far beyond any money-saving rationale. It certainly suits them to make life so horrific for the poor that an indirect purpose is served by terrifying workers who might think of causing trouble from doing so in case they lose their jobs.

So there is an urgent need to make common cause between employed and unemployed workers.

PaddyJoe
22-12-2013, 12:53 AM
Ian Duncan Smith refuses to meet a food bank charity which has provided over 400 food banks across the country.

In 2010, the Trussell Trust provided food to around 41,000 people, but in the past eight months the number has increased to more than half a million, a third of whom are children.Mould first wrote to Duncan Smith in June, saying that many of the problems people were facing could be tracked back to changes in their benefits, and to delays in the payment of them.
Duncan Smith began his reply by criticising the "political messaging of your organisation", which "despite claiming to be nonpartisan" had "repeatedly sought to link the growth in your network to welfare reform". He said his department's record in processing benefit claims had improved and should do so further with the introduction of universal credit.
He rejected any suggestion that the government was to blame. "I strongly refute this claim and would politely ask you to stop scaremongering in this way. I understand that a feature of your business model must require you to continuously achieve publicity, but I'm concerned that you are now seeking to do this by making your political opposition to welfare reform overtly clear."
http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/dec/21/iain-duncan-smith-food-banks-charities

fluffybiscuits
23-12-2013, 02:42 PM
West Yorkshire police have donated £50,000 to be specifically handed out to food banks in the UK

http://www.westyorkshire.police.uk/news/police-and-crime-commissioners-%C2%A350000-donation-food-banks

morticia
23-12-2013, 06:27 PM
Good for West Yorkshire police. The UK government is a bloody disgrace and has been since Thatcher. Unlike here, they don't even pretend to believe in any sort of equality. Yet taxes are higher, largely because of military expenses I guess.

C. Flower
23-12-2013, 09:09 PM
Good for West Yorkshire police. The UK government is a bloody disgrace and has been since Thatcher. Unlike here, they don't even pretend to believe in any sort of equality. Yet taxes are higher, largely because of military expenses I guess.

People here are told to go off to beg for food from charities.

Apjp
23-12-2013, 10:57 PM
So there is an urgent need to make common cause between employed and unemployed workers.

Your idealism is impressive. I see only scapegoating. I get it online and hear about it from some people too and even the dole office tells me to go back and live with me da. Like the auld fella said to me on day one, nobody's going to feel sorry for ya so when you do get back on your feet and out of here, don't feel sorry for the celtic tiger heads who shat on ya when you were down.

I think the real world is doomed for quite some time(several decades at least if not a few more generations or centuries) to just enough haves to prop up the status quo, just enough have nots to make all the ***** nobody needs and can't afford, and anyone below that is doomed to absolute penury.

Untermensch. You know I never really thought about the word and how right on it was. The German language has an ability to just capture the meaning of something by putting words together. The Untermensch are the worst off, and those only slightly above them are as somebody up there said either too terrified or too brainwashed to demand more fairness. Evil but genius.

I don't see any radical 1917 style alliances happening though. Sure we ain't even allowed to join a union if we get a job, so they have it all figured out. Even if you get a job in the multinational dominated graduate world it's temporary and full of hoops. It's got to the stage where the cash in hand Irish companies are starting to look generous, even fair, and that is something.

If any change is to come it has to be the tackling of multinationalism. Not sure unions can do that. Maybe would take someone like Alex Tsipras. Unthinkable in Ireland.

Apjp
23-12-2013, 11:02 PM
People here are told to go off to beg for food from charities.

Yep. Go get them hostel dinners, pay your rent on time, try not to kill anyone(except maybe yourself, save us a few bob) and I'll give you a few happy pills and it'll all be grand.

C. Flower
23-12-2013, 11:22 PM
Yep. Go get them hostel dinners, pay your rent on time, try not to kill anyone(except maybe yourself, save us a few bob) and I'll give you a few happy pills and it'll all be grand.

Just think how much we can annoy them just by existing :)

C. Flower
23-12-2013, 11:25 PM
Your idealism is impressive. I see only scapegoating. I get it online and hear about it from some people too and even the dole office tells me to go back and live with me da. Like the auld fella said to me on day one, nobody's going to feel sorry for ya so when you do get back on your feet and out of here, don't feel sorry for the celtic tiger heads who shat on ya when you were down.

I think the real world is doomed for quite some time(several decades at least if not a few more generations or centuries) to just enough haves to prop up the status quo, just enough have nots to make all the ***** nobody needs and can't afford, and anyone below that is doomed to absolute penury.

Untermensch. You know I never really thought about the word and how right on it was. The German language has an ability to just capture the meaning of something by putting words together. The Untermensch are the worst off, and those only slightly above them are as somebody up there said either too terrified or too brainwashed to demand more fairness. Evil but genius.

I don't see any radical 1917 style alliances happening though. Sure we ain't even allowed to join a union if we get a job, so they have it all figured out. Even if you get a job in the multinational dominated graduate world it's temporary and full of hoops. It's got to the stage where the cash in hand Irish companies are starting to look generous, even fair, and that is something.

If any change is to come it has to be the tackling of multinationalism. Not sure unions can do that. Maybe would take someone like Alex Tsipras. Unthinkable in Ireland.

We seem to have forgetten everything we ever knew about organisation. But I can't believe that human beings have changed that much: it is the superficial brain damage of the boom :)

Apjp
23-12-2013, 11:38 PM
Just think how much we can annoy them just by existing :)

One of the few things that keeps me going. Looking at the fecker behind the counter and saying that's not your money you snob, it's our money, mine too and I won't feel guilty or even grateful, definitely not ashamed- no more than they should be ashamed of the ageist laws they are forced to carry out.

Apjp
23-12-2013, 11:39 PM
We seem to have forgetten everything we ever knew about organisation. But I can't believe that human beings have changed that much: it is the superficial brain damage of the boom :)

So O Connell had something of a point then, beyond his sky fairy self anglophonery?

C. Flower
24-12-2013, 12:01 AM
So O Connell had something of a point then, beyond his sky fairy self anglophonery?

In what way ?

Perhaps we should be doing Jonathan Swift in reverse - "fricassée of politician, served on a bed of fava beans" :)

Apjp
24-12-2013, 12:13 AM
In what way ?

Perhaps we should be doing Jonathan Swift in reverse - "fricassée of politician, served on a bed of fava beans" :)

Organise organise! The only two words of sense ever to come out of the man's mouth.

C. Flower
24-12-2013, 12:26 AM
Organise organise! The only two words of sense ever to come out of the man's mouth.

Yes. So long as we organise for ourselves, not to keep men like him in the style to which accustomed.

Apjp
24-12-2013, 01:17 AM
Yes. So long as we organise for ourselves, not to keep men like him in the style to which accustomed.

Yep.

C. Flower
20-02-2014, 09:33 PM
Tens of thousands have died in Britain weeks after having their sickness benefits stopped after being found "fit for work." Many of them had serious physical or mental illnesses.

http://www.lrb.co.uk/blog/2014/02/20/anna-aslanyan/assessing-atos/

morticia
13-12-2014, 05:04 PM
http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/shame-on-iain-duncan-smith--he-has-presided-over-a-system-which-has-led-to-widespread-hunger-9916404.html

Damning article from the Indy on how Ian Duncan-Smith has presided over delays in welfare payments leading to explosions in the numbers using food banks.

Apparently over 500,000 are now using such facilities. I remember reading that one such facility in one regional city was closed by the trust as they suspected the council was using it as an alternative to paying benefits.

Apjp
13-12-2014, 05:15 PM
Good for West Yorkshire police. The UK government is a bloody disgrace and has been since Thatcher. Unlike here, they don't even pretend to believe in any sort of equality. Yet taxes are higher, largely because of military expenses I guess.

This comment is wrongful in the extremity.

FG/FF/Labour and even the Greens are not really concerned at all with these issues, which is why Ireland is headed for very much to be welcomed Political instability.

The reality is, for Ireland and Britain, political instability can only make things better, not worse.

Apjp
13-12-2014, 05:23 PM
http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/shame-on-iain-duncan-smith--he-has-presided-over-a-system-which-has-led-to-widespread-hunger-9916404.html

Damning article from the Indy on how Ian Duncan-Smith has presided over delays in welfare payments leading to explosions in the numbers using food banks.

Apparently over 500,000 are now using such facilities. I remember reading that one such facility in one regional city was closed by the trust as they suspected the council was using it as an alternative to paying benefits.

A more welcome post to highlight this thread again. Fair play.

I read today the next Parliament there, with 326/650 seats needed as a majority to form any sort of govt. will have about 280 odd Labour, 40 odd SNP, 10-12 of the Northern Irish parties such as DUP/SDLP/ALLIANCE, 4-5 Greens, 3-4 Plaid Cymru etc. who together will have between 340-350 seats.

If the alternative is more Tory Rule, more austerity, no more devolution to Scotland, The North stalling and Stormont collapsing(major stall there yesterday over Cameron's and Kenny's idiocy and arrogance), it seems to me Labour will get in on a very conditional mandate with the others holding them by the balls, which could actually mean they are forced to do things the Labour of old would have done.

The added benefits would be keeping UKIP out and that ******** Johnson would knife Cameron, making idiocy and bigotry the Public face of the Tory Party.

Miliband seems to be making waves in this direction by dropping his opposition to further Scottish devolution, calling for higher income tax and opposing the Bedroom Tax. A few sops granted, but if those things were done, and the SNP etc insisted on them along with a reversal of social welfare cuts, much of this could be reversed, and parties on the broad left in neighbouring countries could credibly say there is an alternative to austerity.

Labour just seem desperate for power more than anything else ideologically speaking and I suspect they'd agree to all of the above and more to get into Government.

morticia
13-12-2014, 05:23 PM
I didn't comment on political instability; so I'm really not sure where that comment comes from.

The FACTS remain that the UK dole is about £69, where it is €100 (u25) and €180 here. The OAP is just over £100 per week there and over €180 here.

Tax freedom day is still later in the year there.

And a recent Guardian article claimed that UK incomes vs inflation had dropped more than anywhere else except Greece.

Apjp
13-12-2014, 05:29 PM
I left another comment below that.

Saying somebody can survive on 100 euro in Ireland ignores reality though.

It is 13 euro more than 87 euro, which is 69 Sterling as you say, and while it would feed someone, it doesn't pay rent, nor bills, nor fuel, nor the water charges.

We have the same problems as Britain and arguing over who's worse by saying the Dole is 87 euro up North and 100 euro in the Republic for young people seems idiotic to me. The argument that is.

morticia
13-12-2014, 05:32 PM
A more welcome post to highlight this thread again. Fair play.

I read today the next Parliament there, with 326/650 seats needed as a majority to form any sort of govt. will have about 280 odd Labour, 40 odd SNP, 10-12 of the Northern Irish parties such as DUP/SDLP/ALLIANCE, 4-5 Greens, 3-4 Plaid Cymru etc. who together will have between 340-350 seats.

If the alternative is more Tory Rule, more austerity, no more devolution to Scotland, The North stalling and Stormont collapsing(major stall there yesterday over Cameron's and Kenny's idiocy and arrogance), it seems to me Labour will get in on a very conditional mandate with the others holding them by the balls, which could actually mean they are forced to do things the Labour of old would have done.

I hope you are right. However, conventionally the "swivel eyed religious fanatics" of the DUP and associated Unionists (to quote Sidey) usually associate with the toxic Tories en masse.

However, in favour of your argument, the Tories (and Edna) have succeeded in uniting the Unionists/SF/SDLP etc in outrage (quite some achievement) at the derisory offer of 1bn for their budgetary requirements. The Nordies wanted 1.5bn.

Needless to say, talks stalemated again. They may have to wait for a Labour etc govt to fix that little problem and make them a better offer, in which case offering to prop up Tories would be an own goal. Another unknowable is the UKIP vote (silent prayers for Nige to get caught doing something unmentionable before the election, but we probably won't get that lucky).

morticia
13-12-2014, 05:36 PM
I left another comment below that.

Saying somebody can survive on 100 euro in Ireland ignores reality though.

It is 13 euro more than 87 euro, which is 69 Sterling as you say, and while it would feed someone, it doesn't pay rent, nor bills, nor fuel, nor the water charges.

We have the same problems as Britain and arguing over who's worse by saying the Dole is 87 euro up North and 100 euro in the Republic for young people seems idiotic to me. The argument that is.

Agreed re the young. For the not so young (a larger cohort) it is substantially better. Welfare here needs to be reformed at least such that those unable to live at home get the full adult rate and the other really major issue is rent allowance. For all, regardless of age.

Yes, both countries have similar problems, but theirs are larger in scale and more intractable. Trust me on this, I used to live in the Welsh valleys, an epic unemployment black spot.

Apjp
13-12-2014, 05:37 PM
Well the Guardian headlines of going after Powell and of accepting Bribe style donations from Tory Newspapers is a start.

Seems to me the DUP will just want to stay in power themselves and they need the assembly to function in order to do that, and even though they'll never say it publicly, they need SF et al on board even if that means stopping the cuts.

McGuinness said that 1 Billion was in the form of credit, not Grants, so in reality he offered them nothing, as the Northern Govt. is well able to borrow already. The issue is the Block Grant Cuts, and how this means no more money for social welfare and basic services, while furthering the Tory agenda, which would even be to the right of the DUP economically speaking.

I think Miliband is desperate for power and will agree to anything the smaller parties demand.

If that benefits everybody in Britain and the North as being the least worse option with no more austerity and a lot more devolution, then it can't be any worse than what they have now.

Apjp
13-12-2014, 05:40 PM
Agreed re the young. For the not so young (a larger cohort) it is substantially better. Welfare here needs to be reformed at least such that those unable to live at home get the full adult rate and the other really major issue is rent allowance. For all, regardless of age.

Yes, both countries have similar problems, but theirs are larger in scale and more intractable. Trust me on this, I used to live in the Welsh valleys, an epic unemployment black spot.

Most of Ireland outside of Cork and Dublin is an epic unemployment black spot for anybody under 30 without a PHD and 12 years experience.

Or anybody over 55 for that matter.

I met one Irish lad here, a Manager of a company and someone from a really priviliged backround, who has many brothers and sisters in the parasite professions in Ireland, and whose poor mother has to pay a substantial property tax on her mansion, who lectured me that poor families now should have had less kids in the Nineties and early 2000s cos condoms were readily available, and that anybody protesting ovr water charges should visit Wales. This fella then lectured me about the bubble, idiot Irish property purchases, then went onto say he has a six figure mortgage and doesn't feel sorry for anybody in Ireland. Needless to say I have avoided where he drinks since.

Like I said, this argument, no offence but it seems like blubbering idiocy to me, and it's obvious to most people that Ireland is as badly off as Britain, in the main. Even Dublin has extensive poverty and we should not be saying 'Wales is worse' or some other such nonsense. We're in the same boat.

Just to give you an idea of this guy's idiocy, and he championed the go to Wales Paddy argument, he said electing SF et al would bankrupt Ireland. Clearly he isn't aware of our debt to GDP ratio.

People in Wales are as badly off as people in Ireland roughly speaking. That is to say, much homelessness, hunger, unemployment, and general deprivation and inequality.

morticia
13-12-2014, 06:07 PM
No, apjp, sorry, but people in the Valleys are worse off. The levels of chronic malnourishment, obesity, crime, alcoholism, antisocial behaviour, public aggression, life expectancy etc are worse than most places in Ireland barring Jobstown, Neilstown and the estates in Limerick that had the gang warfare problem 5 odd years ago.

Then there's all the ex miners with bad lungs on disability, and the highest newborn abnormality rate in the "British" isles owing to the 300 years of industrial waste.

Despite, or perhaps because of this, people are very friendly and nice, but their services really suck. Even by Irish standards.

This is why (to cut a long story short), I'd like to throttle Margaret Thatcher. Closing the mines strangled those communities, there's still coal down there, but allegedly Michael Heseltine had a foreign coal import company, and co-incidentally, a lot of mineshafts were concreted up. Terminally.

What would you define as "parasite professions"? Bankers? Just intrigued, promise not to argue...

Apjp
13-12-2014, 08:23 PM
I think it's a sad indictment of somebody who's never left their own area and lived in provincial Irish Towns if they don't think all of the above and more exist, bar maybe the Lung issue of Miners.

Hunger, sickness, addictions, crime and yes, shortened lifespans, are well known endemics in Irish society, and not just in a few Dublin suburbs.

Solicitors, Accountants, Estate Agents, Auctioneers, Party hacks etc. is what I mean. You know, people who produce nothing and steal everything.

The Rentier classes.

Ireland has more than caught up with its' neighbour since 2007 though.

morticia
13-12-2014, 10:04 PM
I think it's a sad indictment of somebody who's never left their own area and lived in provincial Irish Towns if they don't think all of the above and more exist, bar maybe the Lung issue of Miners.

Hunger, sickness, addictions, crime and yes, shortened lifespans, are well known endemics in Irish society, and not just in a few Dublin suburbs.

Solicitors, Accountants, Estate Agents, Auctioneers, Party hacks etc. is what I mean. You know, people who produce nothing and steal everything.

The Rentier classes.

Ireland has more than caught up with its' neighbour since 2007 though.

Actually, not according to official figures. A recent Guardian article has stated that Britain's decline in living standards is actually worse than anywhere other than Greece. I can't retrieve the article on the phone as I can't quite remember the buzzwords in the title, but I can assure you it exists and I read it. OECD study that specifically looked at all the PIIGS in comparison.

I'm neither stupid nor particularly right wing and I have lived in and have connections with towns other than Dublin. Of course all these problems exist, (apart from ex miners) but there are stats that describe how bad they are. In Ireland, the worst areas statistically are parts of West Dublin and parts of Limerick.

They are outmatched by UK figures for Glasgow, Newport in South Wales and parts of North Eastern England such as Doncaster and Hartlepool. The average life expectancy of adult males in Glasgow is 59, and parts of the Welsh valleys have alcohol abuse rates 10 times the British national average, which is ever so slightly better than the Irish one, but not by much.

Afaik, the only thing we have a worse problem with recently is the gun crime associated with Limerick and West Dublin, although I think they have managed to gradually improve Limerick figures.

However, feel free to trawl the stats and prove me wrong. The fact that Ireland is much less densely populated does tend to minimise the problem in that you're talking small areas of not so big regional towns, not areas the size of a large county with populations well North of a million. Outside of Dublin, that is, Limerick would be classed as a large town by UK standards.

Apjp
14-12-2014, 02:30 AM
You're minimising these things when 750'000 Irish people live in dire poverty and utter deprivation, and according to that Doctor who was on VB lately, and a researcher on afterwards, people in poorer areas in Ireland are 3 times as likely to get sick sooner, more likely to die of every disease going, 3 times as likely to die of cancer as people in middle class areas, and can live upto 15 years less than people in neighbouring areas.

In my own family some people have died in their Thirties and late sixties/early seventies down the decades when 'official figures' were maybe 10 years or 20-30 years higher for the 'average'. Rural deprivation is massive. In 2002 5'000 people died of things like cold, homelessness, simple illnesses and hunger from inequality. This figure hasn't been assessed since and is probably much higher now, and certainly isn't Dublin or Limerick centred.

I grew up seeing this in East Meath and experiencing it. I've seen it in Drogheda and across Louth too. The evidence is there. Ask anybody who grew up in a Council estate around Ireland FFS or else in isolated rural areas.

I am willing to bet the real number is much higher than the 750'000 who admitted living in misery.

Wales can not be really any worse than large swathes of Irish society, and we should not be counting our blessings at all, which seems to be the implication of such an argument by calling claims of widespread Utter Irish Poverty and risk of poverty as well as severe material deprivation from inequality exaggerated, false or 'not as bad as Wales based on Stats'.

We are all of us below a certain level of income in Ireland and Britain as equally immiserated and the first step to changing this is realising just how widespread it is. Really realising. Go see the amount of people getting discounted food in your local hostel or Soup Kitchen, the Irish equivalent to community foodbanks(Drogheda has both now, and the Soup Kitchen on West St is doing a brisk trade thanks to politicians).

morticia
14-12-2014, 08:06 AM
As usual, I am afraid you are reading me wrong. I don't know if you have any conception of how Margaret Thatcher and her ilk utterly changed the landscape in Britain. In fairness, you're not of that generation and not British.
Until Maggie, the UK was well unionised and fairly socialist. Since the 1940s, laws were put in place to make sure mines were safer (in the early days, thousands were killed in various accidents, far too frequently, because of insufficient precautions by private mine owners), and they had been nationalised. So the miners were on a decent govt. wage and had safeguards. Given the sheer levels of coal, huge areas of primarily South Wales and parts of Yorkshire had mining as their primary industry. Their wages drove all the SMEs in the area, shops, services etc.

I have met and talked with children of mining families from both areas, not hard in the UK given the sheer numbers; coal was almost as important an employer as IT is in today's Ireland. It drove the trains until the late 60's, perhaps in retrospect, changing the trains over to diesel might have been the first nail in the coffin.

Anyway, Thatcher smashed the miners unions after months of violent strikes and near starvation among mining families. I think there is one mine left open in South Wales and even that may have closed recently (Tower Colliery, near Swansea).

The entire areas, each about the size of Co. Cork, had their major employer taken away from them and the areas were economically pushed into devastating declines from which they have never recovered. As one son of a miner (now in academic employment many hundreds of miles from the home area) once said; "what she didn't account for in calculating savings from mine closures was the knock on effects on small businesses supplying mining communities. Keeping them open until exhausted would have been a gentle decline and therefore cheaper in the long run".

Right wing Brits have pointed out that closing the mines saves the coal for a later date, but they are neglecting the fact that the shafts were allegedly concreted up, so solutions might have to involve seriously landscape wrecking open caste mining. They tried opening one of these in Merthyr Tydfil just before I left, to mass objections from locals on environmental impact grounds.

Please interpret this post not as a dismissal of poor conditions in Ireland, but as screaming frustration with how working class communities were utterly shafted in the UK. A place which now houses such extremes of wealth (London has apartments now apparently "worth" 36 million) that it makes Ireland look like a socialist paradise (and yes, of course I realise it isn't, not under FG at present anyway).

And since you admit lack of knowledge re the UK; I know you're widely travelled, but you have indicated that you haven't spent much time there), I really fail to understand your confident assertions that everything is worse in Ireland.

On what are you basing this assertion?