As we all know the cost of living has skyrocketed recently, pounds are pinching and businesses and starting to flinch as people are consciously spending less and concentrating on buying the necessities and cutting back on luxuries and what on things that are now seen as frivolous.
With the rising costs of living, families and children are facing the toughest challenge on how to afford everything they need to support their children. From food to bus fare to school, clothing and bills.
What is poverty?
Poverty is more than just the lack of financial income, but also manifests limited access to education, hunger, malnutrition, social discrimination, limited access to basic services and exclusion from wider society.
When we read the word poverty, the UK is not usually the first part of the world many people would think. But, especially in recent years the rate of poverty around the UK has dramatically increased. According to Action for Children, a child is growing up in poverty if they live in a household whose is 60% below the average in a year.
Where in the UK is poverty growing the fastest?
In the past five years it has been reported that the North East of England has the most dramatic rise in child poverty, rising by over a third from 26% to 37% of children.
This rise has ensured that the poverty rate in the North East of England has gone from being below the UK average to the second highest of any region.
In every area of the UK, child poverty levels are above 20%! Even if you look at what are considered affluent areas of the country, the challenge of child poverty is still very relevant. We all know that more needs to be done to combat this!
Why are children in the UK living in poverty?
This is a hard question to answer because there are so many mitigating factors but lately, and the most obvious, is the rise in living costs across each aspect of everyone’s lives. From high fuel and grocery prices to low interest rates and poor savings.
What money is available to low-income families is having to be spent on less groceries for more money, meaning that not only do the adults within a family sometimes not receive a full three meals a day but their children don’t either.
Some people are quick to point the blame at families for ‘over-spending’ on unnecessary items but it is not just that. People are struggling to balance the rising cost of living and stagnated wage rises in many sectors.
With parents of children around the UK struggling with groceries, mortgages, rent and a social life, the lack of funding is passed down to the lives of children. Children miss out on social occasions, become excluded from no fault of their own, potentially are missing meals during the day and having to witness the stress of their parent or parents not being able to afford the basic levels of living.
What is being done to help those in poverty and falling into poverty?
Some do not agree that enough help is offered to those who need it, but the government offer tax credits, benefits and other financial help to ease the burden.
But is this really the best way to solve poverty in the UK and poverty for children in the UK? A couple of one-off payments that don’t really cover the rising costs? Some have suggested that inflation and duty needs to be adjusted or a windfall tax should be introduced on companies that are increasing their prices but still posting higher and higher profits. Whilst we are in no position to suggest what to do with the economy, we can suggest other ways that help can be offered.
Who is helping those in poverty in the UK?
There are lots of dedicated organisations and charities around the UK who are helping children who are from disadvantaged backgrounds or who are living in poverty.
Councils across the country are also helping those in need by giving benefits, finding outside services who can help and by providing services like food banks. Again, a reactionary measure should not outweigh a preventative measure for matters like this.
Social services are also on hand to help those in need. When children are at risk of poverty it is vital that early intervention happens, whether this be financial or moral, to ensure that the family does not end up in poverty.
How can you help those in need?
There are many ways you can help those in need. For example, you can make sure that your friends, neighbours and family are ok. Being a supportive friend may not help those in financial need but offering a listening ear can sometimes really make a difference.
Donating to a charity that helps children who are in poverty or at risk from poverty can always make a huge difference. Whether your donation be money, clothing or electronics, it can help in a big way. It could mean the difference between a child not being able to complete their homework or being able to complete it, being able to have a meal during the day and not or being able to be included in society or being excluded.
A donation to a charity that supports children can help to ease pressure on families and helps to ensure that children around the UK can live a fill life free from poverty.