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Poorest And Most Vunerable The Hardest Hit : Especially Those NOT Able To Work !!! Half Of The 8.4 Million Carer Army ? - Page 21 - Carers UK Forum

Poorest And Most Vunerable The Hardest Hit : Especially Those NOT Able To Work !!! Half Of The 8.4 Million Carer Army ?

Discuss news stories and political issues that affect carers.
216 posts
Sharp rise in UK consumer debt among less well-off, thinktank warns.

Resolution Foundation says increasing reliance on credit cards and overdrafts is storing up problems.


https://www.theguardian.com/money/2020/ ... tank-warns

However, it added that the proportion of low-income households using some form of consumer debt rose by 9% (from 53% to 62%) between the three-year periods of 2006-08 and 2016-19 – a far steeper increase than the one-point rise (to 64%) among high-income households.

Rising use of consumer debt had been concentrated in products with high interest rates that – unlike mortgage debt – had not got cheaper over the past decade.

Kathleen Henehan, a Resolution Foundation policy analyst said: “Britain is a long way from the levels of debt that drove the financial crisis, despite repeated claims to the contrary.

“Access to new credit can be hugely beneficial for low-income families, but with many also reporting that they have no savings to fall back on, these high debt repayment pressures are a sign of stretched living standards.

“The risk is that this leaves them far too exposed to future financial shocks, reinforcing the need for policy makers to focus on the living standards of those on low and middle incomes.”
UK benevolent funds hand out £216 million as hardship grows.

Return of pre-welfare state charities created to help struggling " Gentlefolk " as people fall through safety net.



Benevolent funds – many created on a wave of 19th-century philanthropy to provide assistance to struggling “gentlefolk” or handouts to the starving and destitute of the parish – are reporting a surge in demand for help and hardship grants.

Over the last year, hardship charities in the UK gave out an estimated £216m in grants – up from £203m in 2016 – covering anything from cash handouts to food and clothes, fridges, beds, wheelchairs, psychological counselling, carer help and debt advice.

Over half a million people came to them for help in 2018-19. “These figures show the increasing levels of support needed by people with nowhere else to turn,” said Donal Watkin, chief executive of the Association of Charitable Organisations, which represents more than 120 benevolent charities.


The rise in demand, say the charities, is driven by collapsing living standards and static wages, and the pressures of precarious and stressful working lives, against a backdrop of cuts to the NHS, care services and welfare benefits.

The funds were set up originally by occupational groups – sailors, vicars, accountants, actors and musicians, engineers, for example – or by parishes in the years before state pensions and social security to provide charitable assistance to members or local residents who faced destitution.

Although they fell into decline after the creation of the welfare state, many funds have now rebranded and modernised in response to new demand: the Society for the Assistance of Ladies in Reduced Circumstances, for example, has become the Smallwood Trust; the Distressed Gentlefolks’ Aid Association has become Turn2Us.

Surviving on endowments and in some cases topped up by donations and fundraising, the benevolent funds are tiny compared with the mighty billions of the welfare state, but they act as a tracker both of wider societal trends and the receding frontiers of state-provided social security.

In recent years they have experienced a switch in demand from end-of-life assistance to help for younger working-age beneficiaries, often in decent jobs but with few savings who find that a single adverse event – illness, unemployment – can trigger a spiralling crisis, one compounded if the state safety net is inadequate.

Kris Barnett, chief executive of the Institution of Civil Engineers Benevolent Fund, said: “When I started here [in 2003], most of the applications were from widows and older people. Now 70% of our beneficiaries are people of working age who are struggling with modern life.”

Last year the fund gave a 176% increase in grants – financial assistance or courses of therapy – to beneficiaries affected by mental illness, reflecting the more stressful working lives of its members in the construction industry, as well as increasingly slow or inadequate NHS provision.

The Charity for Civil Servants stepped in on several occasions where current and former civil servants with chronic disease or disability had been denied home adaptation grants by local councils, coming to the rescue with grants of more than £10,000.

“If the local authority says a person isn’t eligible for help, and a grant from us is the only way that person can have a normal quality of life, why wouldn’t we do it?” said Flavia Gapper, director of help and advice at the Charity for Civil Servants.

Glasspool Charity Trust, a general poverty fund that spent nearly £1.7m last year on grants for basic household appliances such as washing machines, cookers and beds, says homelessness, domestic violence, mental illness, in-work poverty and debt caused by long waits for universal credit are among the key drivers of demand.

Demand surged after the coalition scrapped the social fund in 2013 in favour of local welfare provision, which subsequently collapsed in many parts of England. In these “welfare deserts” cash-strapped councils rely increasingly on charities such as Glasspool, as well as food banks and faith groups, to help poor people in crisis.

Glasspool’s chief executive, Julie Green, warned that it would not be able to provide unlimited help for the increasing numbers of people who could no longer rely on the state for help: “We don’t want to replicate state funding, but the goalposts of what constitutes state funding have moved.”

Damon Gibbons, director of the Centre for Responsible Credit, said rising demand for general hardship funds reflected the growth of destitution and extreme poverty. “These charities have always existed to cover for the holes in the safety net but the holes have got bigger and they are struggling to fill the gap.”

" I was reminded people do care "

Emily Beardall, 44, had just qualified with a degree in pharmacy when she was diagnosed with myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME). “I couldn’t work. It was difficult financial and emotionally.”

She faced a long wait for NHS specialist treatment and found it harder and harder to make ends meet. She skimped on food, and cut back on basics. It was difficult to access disability benefits. “When you are ill you don’t have the energy to fight for things.”

After two years she found out about Pharmacist Support, a charity set up to provide help for current and former pharmacists and their families in their hour of need. “I was lucky,” says Beardall, “they scooped me up.”

The charity gave her a cash grant to tide her over while it arranged for an adviser to sort out her benefits – she was initially refused disability benefits, although at the time she “could barely feed herself” – and for help towards the cost of a mobility scooter.

She is now coming off unemployment benefit and taking a return-to-work course, an upturn in her life for which she credits Pharmacist Support. “It felt like I had been picked up and carried out of a horrible situation. I was reminded people do care.”
Period poverty : Schools urged to order free menstrual products.

State schools and colleges in England can now order free period products for students as part of a government scheme to tackle period poverty.



Tampons, pads and menstrual cups will be available for primary and secondary institutions to order if they opt in.

The scheme aims to help prevent children missing school if they don't have access to products at home.

Campaigners have warned that schools could disadvantage their pupils if they do not take up the scheme.

Schools will be able to choose from a range of items using an online system, but can also place orders via email or over the phone.

The products, from supplier phs Group, include single-use and reusable pads, applicator and non-applicator tampons, and menstrual cups.

The government is giving each school a set amount of money to spend on products in 2020 - calculated on the basis that 35% of pupils who menstruate will use them.

They come at a range of prices, so it is up to individual schools to decide how they spend their allocated budgets.

It follows the government's announcement last March that it would fund free period products for secondary school students. The pledge was subsequently extended to primary schools.

Amika George, 20, started the campaign to get free period products into schools when she was 17.

She said schools should talk to students about provision, to break down stigma and to make sure they knew the demand was there to opt into the system.

Different students would need different products, she said. For example, pads for children who cannot use tampons for cultural or religious reasons.

Lynda Erroi, head of year seven at Southam College in Warwickshire, said she often works with students who have "no plan in place for when periods start" or cannot afford products.

"This will reduce the stress for any student who is trying hard to attend school when period products are an issue in their life," she said.

"Staff will also feel more empowered that they are able to request supplies and support a child's needs."

The college previously worked with the Red Box Project, which has provided free period products to schools since 2017.

Co-founder Anna Miles said the government scheme could mean the difference between a child attending and skipping school.

She described it as a "step towards genuine equality".

Children and Families Minister Michelle Donelan said the scheme will mean young people can "go about their daily lives" without having to worry.

The Department for Education website says the rate reflects the fact that not all students will need the products all of the time, and is mirrored in a scheme that is already rolled out in Scotland.

Wales introduced funding for free products in schools from April 2019.

One local authority in Northern Ireland offers free products in public places.


Orders from schools are expected to be delivered within five working days.
Low-income families set to be poorer under universal credit – study.

Data shows areas with high numbers of unemployed and disabled will be worse off, says thinktank.


The average low-income family in the UK’s most deprived areas – including “left behind” communities in the north of England – is likely to be worse off under universal credit, according to a study by the Resolution Foundation.

Although the government’s reversal of some of the cuts it made five years ago to universal credit will make the average UK family £1 a week better off than under previous benefits, the study says those living in the poorest areas will be on average worse off.

The thinktank says the economies of those areas with high numbers of disabled, unemployed or single-parent claimants – all groups likely to lose out under the new system – will see falls in spending power when universal credit is fully rolled out.

Official data indicates that the deprived areas most closely matching this profile and where, on average, families will be worse off under universal credit, include places that unexpectedly voted for the government at the last election such as Blackpool, Middlesbrough, Redcar, Hyndburn and Wolverhampton.

After its victory, the government promised to regenerate fragile post-industrial economies in the Midlands, the north and north-east of England where it won a swath of previously staunch Labour-voting parliamentary seats known as the “red wall”.

Other areas where families are on average likely to be worse off when they move on to universal credit include Liverpool, Birmingham, Glasgow, Burnley, Kingston-upon-Hull, Blaenau Gwent, Knowsley and Hartlepool.

Universal credit will pay out more than £60bn a year nationally by 2023. That many of the UK’s poorest local areas will be net average losers under universal credit is “something currently being ignored amid growing debates about how to level up economic outcomes across Britain”, says the foundation.

Laura Gardiner, research director at Resolution, said some areas of the country would fare particularly badly under universal credit and understanding that “should be central to policy debates that are rightly focusing on what can be done to close economic gaps between parts of the UK”.

The foundation also called for further changes to the design and generosity of universal credit to make the system easier for claimants to use and to ensure it meets its original aims of simplifying benefits, improving incentives to move into work and cutting poverty.

“With the reputation of universal credit under significant threat, now is the time for the government and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to really understand how it is working on the ground in order to make necessary changes,” it says.

While overall UK benefit spending will be maintained under universal credit, this masks a “substantial redistribution” of support between different areas of the country, says Resolution, with resources skewed towards families in high-rent areas like London and the south-east over the north and Midlands.

The thinktank illustrates this by highlighting the effect on Liverpool and its surrounding boroughs, where 52% of all claimants will be worse off on universal credit by 2024, compared with a national average of 46%. This rises to 65% for Merseyside families with a disabled member (60% UK-wide). On average, Merseyside families will lose £7 a week.

With the return of a Tory government, the foundation concludes that universal credit, despite its turbulent history, is now “definitely going ahead”. Labour had promised a root-and-branch overhaul of what it had called a “cruel and inhuman” system. The foundation warns ministers against complacency, saying that universal credit remained a “negative symbol” of a decade of conservative welfare reform and that some of its central features – like the controversial minimum five-week wait for an initial payment – remained intensely disliked by claimants.

Its qualitative research with claimants in Liverpool – supported financially by Liverpool city region – found that despite official insistence, there was no evidence that claimants believed that digitally administered benefits under universal credit were an improvement on the old system.

Responding to the report, a DWP spokesperson said: “Universal credit supports more than 2.7 million people across every part of the country, introducing tailored support to replace a complicated old system. This report rightly recognises improvements we’ve made, like boosting work allowances for some families to £1,000 and making it much easier to apply online.”

Universal credit, which rolls six working-age benefits into a single monthly payment, was initially due to be fully rolled out in 2017, but a series of blunders means it will not be completed until at least 2023, by which time approximately 6 million families will have been signed up.

Ministers originally argued the new system would reduce poverty by improving incentives for people to work. But Gardiner said the “jury was still out” on this as wider benefit cuts such as the benefit freeze and the two-child limit, which apply to people on universal credit, were likely to push up poverty rates.
Social mobility in decline in Britain, official survey finds.

Social Mobility Commission finds stark regional differences in perceptions of life prospects.



Social mobility is in decline in Britain, with more than half of people saying the government is failing to do enough to help the least well off, according to a survey by ministers’ advisory body on life chances.

The poll, by the Social Mobility Commission, found stark regional differences in people’s perceptions of their life prospects, with people in the north-east and north-west of England significantly less optimistic than their southern counterparts

Just under a third of people in the north-east said they felt they had a good chance to get on in life in their own region, compared with 74% of those in the south-east and 78% of Londoners.

The commission said the survey, carried out for its annual social mobility barometer, revealed deep unease in many regions about whether people had the same access to good education, jobs and housing as those living in the more prosperous south.

Dame Martina Milburn, the chair of the commission, said the survey was a call to action for politicians, who should start to reverse “the inequalities of generations” and give people an equal chance in life.

“Regions which have been marginalised for decades should get the investment they need to provide opportunities for young people, so they don’t have to move out to move up,” she said.

Although 63% of people felt they had received a better school education compared with their parents, nearly half said they had a worse standard of living than the previous generation, and only 29% felt they had better job security.

Despite feeling they had good opportunities to progress, Londoners were more likely to say they were worse off than their parents when it came to housing, job security, overall living standards and personal finances.

Young people have a particularly pessimistic outlook, the poll suggests. Only a third of 18- to 24-year-olds said they thought everyone in Britain today had a fair chance to progress, compared with almost half of those aged 65 and over.

Most people of all ages agreed there were fewer opportunities for people from disadvantaged backgrounds to go to a top university or to own their own home compared with their better-off peers.

Other findings include :

Of those surveyed, 44% agreed that where a person ends up in society was largely determined by their background. Only 35% felt that everyone had a fair chance to get on.

The majority of people (77%) felt there was a large gap between the social classes in Britain, a finding that has not changed from previous years, suggesting it is a deeply entrenched view.

Twice as many middle-class people (50%) felt their background gave them an advantage in their education (50%), career choice and career progression, than working-class people (22%).

The shadow education secretary, Angela Rayner, said the findings were unsurprising. “For the last nine years, Tory-led austerity has had a devastating impact throughout the country,” she said. “We need real change and meaningful policies. Ministers must focus on securing social justice for all, rather than a leg-up for a few.”

The Social Mobility Barometer was based on a poll just under 5,000 people carried out online by YouGov in March 2019.
Universal credit " Sending people into arms of loan sharks. "

Debt charity says Tories’ flagship welfare project forcing claimants into destitution.


Universal credit fuels debt problems for low-income claimants, forcing many into destitution and driving others to loan sharks to get cash for basics such as food, clothes and heating, a leading charity has claimed.

StepChange, the UK’s largest debt charity, said problems relating to universal credit’s design – in particular the five-week wait for a first benefit payment – made it harder for its financially vulnerable clients to manage their money.

It called for significant changes to the design of universal credit to make it fairer, more flexible and generous for the very poorest claimants, nearly half of whom had taken out loans to pay for basic living essentials over the past year.

A quarter of its clients in receipt of universal credit were in problem debt, three times the rate found in the population as a whole and almost twice the rate of claimants on older, “legacy” benefits, it said.

The majority of its clients struggled to make ends meet each month – only 6% said they always came in on budget, and 46% said they always ended the month in the red. More than a third had used food banks or sought help from local charities or churches.

“We already knew that too many people are experiencing hardship and misery through problems with the universal credit system. What is new is the evidence of exactly how universal credit actively worsens debt problems, more so than the legacy benefits system,” said StepChange’s head of policy, Peter Tutton.

He urged ministers to do more to protect vulnerable claimants: “Sending people into the arms of loan sharks, and making a debt situation worse at the very time when people most need help, cannot possibly be what social security is for.”

The charity is critical of the system of advance loans introduced by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) as a means of helping penniless new claimants to survive the much-criticised 35-day wait for an initial benefit payment – over twice as long as the typical wait for payment under the old benefits system.

The wait, intended to get claimants used to monthly payments that are the norm in the middle-class world of work, has caused havoc among people used to being paid on a weekly or fortnightly basis, particularly where they have no savings to fall back on.

Although ministers argue the loans have helped mitigate the negative impact of the wait, StepChange found that the strict repayment terms – which deduct up to a third of the benefit each month for a year – turned a short-term income shock for clients into a long-term one, with half finding it difficult to cope as a result.

Clients struggled even more when DWP loan repayments were combined with deductions for tax credit overpayments and council tax debts. Claimants were often unaware deductions would be made until they received reduced benefits. Deductions were at fixed rates, regardless of affordability, often arriving without explanation.

Asked how they coped with benefit deductions, StepChange clients were most likely to cut back on food or heating or ask friends and family for help. Half said the deductions caused them to fall behind on debt repayments. One in 10 said they took out loans from loan sharks.

Commercial credit firms would not be allowed to operate a universal credit-style deductions scheme, said StepChange: “As it stands the social security system would not meet basic regulatory requirements of consumer credit firms to treat customers fairly.”

A DWP spokesperson said: “Claimants can get paid urgently if they need it and 95% of payments are made in full and on time. We’ve changed the system so people can receive even more money in the first two weeks than under the old system, and Alternative Payment Arrangements to landlords can already be made for claimants struggling to pay their rent.”

More than half of StepChange clients who claimed social security met the definition of destitution, meaning they had gone without two or more essentials over the past month because of lack of money. Essentials include eating two meals a day, owning weather-appropriate clothes and being able to buy basic toiletries.

About 2 million people are in receipt of universal credit, which bundles six working age benefits into a single monthly payment. More than 6 million will be on the benefit by the time it is fully rolled out in 2023.
England's poorest " Get worse NHS care " than wealthiest citizens.

Study found stark differences in A&E waiting times and experience of GP services.



England’s poorest people get worse NHS care than its wealthiest citizens, including longer waiting for A&E treatment and worse experience of GP services, a study shows.

Those from the most deprived areas have fewer hip replacements and are admitted to hospital with bed sores more often than people from the least deprived areas.

With regard to emergency care, 14.3% of the most deprived had to wait more than the supposed maximum of four hours to be dealt with in A&E in 2017-18, compared with 12.8% of the wealthiest. Similarly, just 64% of the former had a good experience making a GP appointment, compared with 72% of those from the richest areas.

While 134 people per 100,000 of the least deprived were admitted to hospital that year because of pressure sores, the rate among the poorest was three times higher, 394 per 100,000 people.

Research by the Nuffield Trust and Health Foundation thinktanks found that the poorest people were less likely to recover from mental ill-health after receiving psychological therapy and be readmitted to hospital as a medical emergency soon after undergoing treatment.

The findings sparked concern because they show that poorer people’shealth risks being compounded by poorer access to NHS care. Moreover, previous evidence showed that, while life expectancy is still improving for the best-off, it has stalled or gone backwards among the poorest.

“Poverty is bad for your health, and people in the poorest parts of England face a vicious cycle,” said Ruth Thorlby, a co-author and assistant director of policy at the Health Foundation.

“Poor living conditions, low quality work and underfunded local services lead to worse health.

“These findings show that, added to this, those in the most deprived areas are routinely experiencing longer waits in A&E, lower satisfaction and more potentially avoidable hospital admissions,” she added.

The thinktanks analysed 23 indicators of the quality of healthcare to see what role, if any, is played by the level of deprivation faced by the patient. They found that care was worse for all of them for those from England’s poorest communities.

However, while some related directly to NHS care – which patients should be able to access equally – others involved socio-economic factors over which the service has no control, such as housing and employment.

“These findings show some concerning trends about the knock-on effects an overstretched NHS is having on the people in England who often need it most,” said Sarah Scobie, deputy director of research at the Nuffield Trust and the other co-author.

“My worry is that continued pressure on the NHS is only going to exacerbate inequalities, despite the very best of intentions from staff to provide fair and equal care.”

Disclosure of such stark and widening inequalities raises awkward questions for the government and NHS England, both of which have pledged to tackle them.

In the NHS Long Term Plan published last year, service chiefs promised to take “a more concerted and systematic approach to reducing health inequalities and addressing unwarranted variation in care”. That includes putting about £1bn in extra funding into the parts of England with the highest inequalities in health.

More positively, though, the thinktanks also found that, in areas of care where quality is improving, the inequality gap is narrowing, such as in hospital admissions for asthma, diabetes and epilepsy in children, and people being able to die where they live.

The research found large disparities between richest and poorest in measures of children and young people’s health, including take-up of the MMR vaccine in five-year-olds, teenage pregnancy and admissions for self-harm for under-18s.

Dr Stephen Jivraj, an associate professor in the faculty of population health sciences at University College London, said: “These findings point to an inverse care law where those most in need of health services are experiencing the poorest quality.

“They provide context to why the gap in health between rich and poor is getting larger, as shown in recent research from UCL. The increase in the gap between deprived areas and less deprived areas is worrying.”

NHS England declined to comment.

The Department of Health and Social Care said: “Everyone should have access to good quality NHS healthcare no matter where they live. We’re determined to narrow the gap between the richest and poorest, with people in England now living for 30 years longer than they did a century ago.

“Our NHS Long Term Plan, backed by an extra £33.9bn in cash terms a year by 2023-24, puts tackling health inequalities at its heart. We know prevention is better than cure, which is why we recently published our green paper, looking at how to give our children a good start in life and ensuring everyone can lead a long and healthy life.”
Landmark England review says policy causing unprecedented damage to health and life chances

https://www.theguardian.com/society/202 ... in-century

https://www.theguardian.com/society/202 ... integrated

Was on the News too, but couldn't hear it over S!

Melly1
Poorest 20% of Britons no better off than in 2004, says ONS

Emphasis on boosting minimum wage while cutting benefits seems to have left low-income families worse off

( Family carers still worse off since 1981. )

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/202 ... 200405-ons
Yes ... the world does continue to revolve around the sun despite first Brexit , and now coronavirus :

Number of children living in poverty rises by 100,000 in a year, 'shocking' figures reveal.

Austerity blamed for 600,000 surge since Conservatives came to power - leaving 4.2 million youngsters below the breadline.

A leap of 100,000 in the number of children living in poverty has been branded “shocking”, even before the coronavirus lockdown of the economy bites.

The increase, part of a 600,000 surge since the Conservatives came to power a decade ago, means 4.2 million youngsters in the UK – or 30 per cent – are living below the breadline.

Overall, the number of people living in poverty soared by 500,000 to 14.5 million in 2018-19, the highest total since the statistics were first collected in 2002.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/p ... 28531.html
216 posts