housing

Poverty Rates In The UK Have Been So Bad, They Soon May Reach Victorian Era Levels 

According to a new report from the Center for Social Justice, the most disadvantaged and impoverished people in the United Kingdom are no better off than they were 15 years ago. The report found a “yawning gap between those who can get by and those stuck at the bottom.”

The Center for Social Justice is an independent think tank whose earliest work has led to a reformation of Britain’s welfare system and the introduction of Universal Credit; a monthly government payment for individuals earning low incomes, according to CNN.

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The Center published the 300-page report as the latest evidence of how the UK’s economies lack of movement has made it nearly impossible to work through their poverty problem. The cost-of-living crisis in the UK in general has only made the impoverished population suffer more. 

“We have uncovered a nation of two halves. The general public for the most part can get by, and then there is this cohort of people whose lives are marked by family breakdown, physical and mental ill-health; who live in crime-ridden communities and experience multiple barriers to work,” said Sophia Worringer, deputy policy director at the Center for Social Justice, said Monday. 

The Center for Social Justice also warns that the UK is currently risking “sliding back into the two nations of the Victorian era, marked by a widening gulf between mainstream society and a poverty stricken underclass.”

During the Victorian age, the social divide in the UK was so severe that the working class was facing brutal living conditions, with little to no access to clean water, food, and sanitation, and they had no feasible ways of improving their lives and economic situations. 

Unfortunately, the report went on to state that the current poverty situation in the UK is reaching closer levels to the Victorian era due to addiction, joblessness, personal debts, and educational failures. 

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According to CNN, the study itself surveyed 6,000 people with more than half being from the UK’s poorest communities. The survey also used data from more than 350 small charities and experts across over 20 towns and cities in the UK. 

“For too many, Britain is broken and the gap between the haves and have-nots is in danger of becoming a chasm,” says the foreword to the report, signed by Mervyn King, a former Bank of England governor.

The report also discussed how the pandemic and the lockdown only made things worse, and had a “catastrophic effect on the nation’s social fabric.”

CNN said that “during lockdowns, calls to domestic abuse helplines surged 700%; mental health problems in young people spread from one in nine to one in six; severe school absence jumped 134%; and 1.2 million more people received welfare payments. Deaths from alcohol poisoning, which had been dropping before the pandemic, have also risen since the mass outbreak of Covid-19.”

“Those who are left behind are still reeling from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Life for them never returned to normal and the scars of that time are still very deeply felt,” said Worringer.