The Poverty Premium – voices from the grassroots

School of ParticipationWe’re currently running a ‘School of Participation with people who are affected by the ‘Poverty Premium’. At the first session, people shared their thoughts about what poverty means, and what challenges they face at the moment.

What is poverty?

  • Being worried about basic needs being provided for
  • Not being able to provide the very basic essentials for yourself and your family
  • Not having sufficient access to life’s basic necessities, food, clothes, shelter, love
  • Living in worry about how you make ends meet

Poverty to me is – Having to go to day centres etc. for a meal and food parcels, struggling to pay £10-£15 on your electricity, constantly counting pennies, walking because you can’t afford the bus – or if you get the bus you can’t buy sugar. Poverty is getting yer mate with his clippers to shave your head to save the £5 barber’s cost. Poverty is surviving not living. Poverty is buying your clothes from second-hand shops and charity shops

  • Having no support or social network to engage with
  • No control over your life choices

When people are not respected, excluded, segregated against their will and deprived of their dignity

  • Having to make uncomfortable decisions
  • Having all of life’s riches, but not appreciating or using them to help yourself and others
  • Expenditure greater than income
  • Desperation
  • Fear
  • Deprivation
  • Living desperately and with poor conditions that are bad for health
  • Having no house, no money, no security
  • Having to worry how to survive
  • Not being able to afford a standard education (can’t afford uniform or transport to go to grammar schools)

Having no options in times of financial emergency

  • Not always desperation, some people remain optimistic

In the current financial climate, where are people feeling the pinch?

  • Leisure (it’s a luxury)

Food – always eat what’s the cheapest and not usually healthy

  • Travel/bus fares/bike
  • Birthday cards
  • Clothes – especially if looking for a job

Fuel – £7 emergency electricity & need to pay back £12 because of the charge – £5 interest for borrowing £7 – plus kW per hour is more than a direct debit plus charged for having a meter

  • People of lower income are forced to have a meter. Have to pay £250 to get rid of meter
  • Dog food

Where are the injustices?

  • Olympics sponsorship – Mars / McDonalds / Coca Cola
  • Politicians not charged bedroom tax for second homes
  • Conspiracy / morality of cheap food being dosed with lots of e-numbers
  • Horse meat in the ‘value’ end of food chain
  • Salford GM energy – only people without a card meter can access that
  • You are only allowed to put £48 in electric meter
  • Weekly fee £1.75-£5.00 – for having a meter
  • Weekly electricity is bill £25-30 per week as opposed to £90 monthly

This is not being picked up as the group of people experiencing it have no ‘voice’ or don’t express it in the right way

  • This can be deflected to the ‘person’ rather than the ‘issue’
  • You can be paying someone else’s debt (this can take 12p per hour)
  • Payday loans can be caused by jobcentre cutting money
  • BrightHouse tempting to these families
  • No money for lawyers (to fight case)
  • Workfare – having to work for free

Click here to find out more about Church Action on Poverty’s Schools of Participation.
Click here to find out more about our ‘Food, Fuel, Finance’ programme.

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