Poverty and inequality in the UK were very high before the outbreak of Covid-19, but the current pandemic has created a much larger gap between the debts of the poor and the increasing savings of the rich. With the sharp rise in poverty, experts predict that if the situation persists, the number of poor people will increase day by day and the country will become a poor one.
Rising Number of Poor in the UK
According to a report published by the Financial Inclusion Annual Monitoring Report, the number of poor people in the UK is increasing every day because rising unemployment due to the pandemic has made it difficult for them to pay their loans, rent and other debts. Of course, the government has taken measures to help the less well-off. For example, as compared to last year, the number of emergency food packages for children has doubled, but these measures have not been enough.
Efforts to Reduce the Financial Crisis Caused by Covid-19
Important measures taken by the UK government to alleviate the financial crisis caused by the spread of the coronavirus included an 80% payroll plan for leave or closure, support for various businesses, a ban on evicting tenants from their homes, and an increase in the number of school meals. Of course, much of this government assistance has ended now. Restrictions on evicting tenants only lasted until the end of September, and the unemployment benefit plan ended at the end of October.
How is the UK Government Reimbursing these Costs?
Boris Johnson’s Cabinet has to spend huge amounts of money to provide the above support for its people. At present, senior British officials have offset some of these costs through the central bank’s expansionary policy by issuing securities aimed at stimulating the economy, in a bid to bring more revenue to the country. On the other hand, the UK government intends to classify people and increase taxes in the future. This means that wealthy families will be subject to heavier taxes, because their capital has augmented further during the pandemic.
An 83% Rise in Homelessness over the Past Decade
While the Conservative government has recently increased its military budget to its highest level in 30 years, the latest research shows that the number of homeless people in the UK has risen by 83% over the past decade. Shelter’s new report reveals that 253,000 people are homeless and living in temporary accommodation during the pandemic; this is limited to England and does not include the number of homeless people in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. This is the highest figure since 2006.
Rising Homelessness in the UK Since the Pandemic
Statistics show that in the first quarter, the number of homeless people increased by 6,000 in the UK after the coronavirus outbreak. However, human rights activists believe that the number of homeless people is far greater than the government estimates. According to them, the number of homeless people who spend their nights in tents and along public roads is not included in the government’s calculations. Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “Over a quarter of a million people – half of them children – are homeless and stuck in temporary accommodation. This should shame us all.”
Deplorable Living Conditions Provided by the Council
Reports indicate that the Council is housing the homeless in deplorable conditions. These people generally live in non-standard buildings, full of unpleasant odors and mould. I have seen families, mothers and children living in a small room sharing the same bathroom and kitchen with the rest of the residents in B&Bs and other emergency accommodations, says Polly Neate. This condition is especially unbearable during the coronavirus outbreak.
London Has the Highest Number of Homeless People!
According to Shelter, more than two-thirds (68%) of the homeless live in the UK capital alone, which is equivalent to one in 52 Londoners. Luton has the highest number of homeless people after London, with one in 55 homeless. Brighton, Hove, Manchester and Birmingham have high rates of homelessness in the UK, respectively.
Increasing the Military Budget Despite Widespread Poverty
The UK has recently increased its military budget by $21.9 billion. “I have taken this decision in the teeth of the pandemic because the defence of the realm must come first,” Boris Johnson said in a statement. “The international situation is more perilous and more intensely competitive than at any time since the Cold War and Britain must be true to our history and stand alongside our allies. To achieve this, we need to upgrade our capabilities across the board.” The plan was widely welcomed by various UK political parties as experts paint a dire picture of the UK economy.
Consequences of the Pandemic Will Continue for Several Years
According to estimates, the consequences of the pandemic will continue until the 2024 elections. The Office for Budget Responsibility also predicts that economic power will be at its lowest level in 300 years. Shelter had previously reported that every eight minutes, a child in the UK becomes homeless. Statistics show that homelessness in the country has reached its highest level since 2006.
Severe Poverty in British Schools
The results of the latest research conducted by human rights organisations in the UK show an unprecedented increase in the number of students in schools who have claimed to receive free food due to extreme poverty. An analysis by the Food Foundation think tank, released as part of footballer Marcus Rashford’s campaign to end child food poverty, estimates that as many as 900,000 more children have sought free school meals, on top of the 1.4 million who were already claiming, as the Covid-19 crisis plays havoc with family incomes. Campaigners urged ministers to prevent a growing food insecurity crisis for millions of children by widening eligibility for free lunches to all children up to the age of 16 whose families were claiming universal credit or other benefits. Human rights activists have called on the government to extend the terms of free school meals to all ages and to prevent an escalation of the food crisis among families receiving government help. The aggravation of the problem of homelessness and the deepening of the class divide in society, according to the statistics provided from inside this country, are still increasing on the streets. Child malnutrition is also another problem facing the UK. The recklessness of Boris Johnson’s government, the unplanned withdrawal from the EU, and the rampant outbreak of the coronavirus are among the factors that have contributed to the daily spread of poverty in the UK, pushing many people below the poverty line.