Socialist Worker

The Troublemaker —One in ten in poverty and yet more Tory cuts coming soon

Issue No. 2622

Millions are in persistent poverty

Millions are in 'persistent poverty' (Pic: Images Money/Flickr)

More than one in ten people in Britain live in “persistent poverty”.

A study by the Social Metrics Commission (SMC) found that 7.7 million people, or 12.1 percent of the population, have spent all or most of the last four years in poverty.

“Given that we know that long periods in poverty can be particularly damaging to people’s lives and prospects, this is a significant concern,” the report stated.

In total, 14.2 million people were found to be in poverty under the new measure.

That is 8.4 million working-age adults, 4.5 million children and 1.4 million people of pension age.

Of those, nearly half—6.9 million—are living in families with a disabled person, the research suggests.

Another 2.5 million people are at risk of falling into poverty, the report reveals.

The commission also takes the first steps to including groups of people previously omitted from poverty statistics, such as those living on the streets or in overcrowded housing.

  • Public services face a fresh round of austerity cuts within two years.

Vital areas that do not have spending protections are in line for real-terms cuts of 2.1 percent after 2020, the New Economics Foundation said.

Its analysis found that prisons, public health and housing are all among services set to be squeezed.

Its “core” assessment of the government’s most likely plans would mean an average real terms cut of 2.1 percent in some areas during the first half of the 2020s.

Annual cuts of £70 million for prisons, £80 million for public health and £30 million for housing could be imposed by 2024, it found.

The report was funded by the TUC.

Santa Claus is just for the rich children

It is a magical Christmas tradition. But this year Harrods has decided children will only be allowed to sit on Santa’s knee if their parents have spent enough in store.

The store has said its annual Santa’s grotto is “invite only”, making it accessible only to regular Harrods Rewards customers who have splashed enough cash over the past 12 months.

One woman who claimed she had spent £12,000 at Harrods over the past year said staff told her she was not a big enough customer to take her children to the grotto.

Harrods declined to reveal what customers need to spend to be invited to meet Father Christmas.

It claimed a “range of factors” including frequency of visit was also taken into account.

Those who have been nice—after the invite list has been checked twice—will be charged £20 per child.

Student housing? Not a problem for the rich

Eden Mansion, an eight-bedroom house in the Scottish countryside, provided a peaceful retreat for First World War field marshal Earl Haig and was viewed by the future Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as a potential home.

A price tag of almost £2 million puts the house, which features battlements, a wine cellar, stables and five acres of land, beyond the reach of all but the most affluent of undergraduates.

But it’s little more than loose change to an unnamed tycoon whose daughter is due to begin her studies at the University of St Andrews.

Adverts seek a retinue of 12 staff, including a butler, maid, chauffeur and three footmen.

Successful applicants will be expected to hold doors open for their young mistress and wake her in the morning while displaying a “cheerful” disposition.

You might expect to find flowers, teddy bears and sunny seaside scenes in a children’s colouring book. However, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has swapped traditional fare for more alarming images, after making the unusual decision to publish its own version. Children will have the opportunity to colour in a weapons inspector wearing a protective suit and gas mask.

Tony Blair has been accused of lifting lines from a film. Peter Morgan wrote 2006’s The Queen which saw actor Michael Sheen, as Blair, talking to Helen Mirren’s monarch about Princess Diana’s death. Morgan said the ex-PM’s 2010 book, A Journey, “used a number of quotations that sounded like my dialogue”.

Drugs are for the better off

Richer people are more likely to take illegal drugs and drink alcohol than poorer people.

The Social Metrics Commission found that

22 percent of young people in better-off families took illegal drugs in the past year.

That compares with

13 percent of those judged to be below the poverty line. Troublemaker isn’t interested in moralising about people’s habits. That’s the Tories’ job—who usually paint poor people as feckless addicts.

Police dog kills pensioner

Irene Collins died four days after she was repeatedly bitten on the arm and legs in her kitchen by a police dog that was supposed to be searching her garden.

She was 73 years old.After being pulled off once, the dog bit Irene again.

An inquest in Teesside heard that a Home Office pathologist initially reported she would not have died, despite her medical problems, had she not been bitten.

Matthew Donkin for the family asked if Sergeant Yates, who was carrying a pistol, considered shooting the dog.

He replied, “I considered everything but that was not an option that was anywhere near viable.”

The Things They Say

We lost too many arguments. When they fought dirty, we were too nice’

Deputy Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson on why the party failed to stop austerity in office

‘The queen won’t need MI6 to warn her about the dangers posed by Mr Corbyn’

The Daily Mail on ‘the real red menaces’ following rehashed allegations about Michael Foot being a spy

‘I am not going to play that game’

Tory environment secretary Michael Gove won’t condemn Hungarian antisemite prime minister Viktor Orban

‘I get a little bit irritated’

Theresa May on the constant threats to her leadership

‘Have you guys had much Chinese food?’

Prince William at the grand opening of Japan House

‘I find myself struggling to be that scared by the prospect of a Corbyn government’

Lord O’Neill, former Goldman Sachs chief economist, who served as a Treasury minister under George Osborne

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The Troublemaker
Tue 18 Sep 2018, 12:43 BST
Issue No. 2622
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