Poverty in Europe – contributions on what it is like to be poor in the UK, in response to BBC article on living for less than GBP 1/day.


There are also extremely interesting contributions among the comments to that blog post – cf. for instance the points made about transport, about precarious work, about the practicalities of living on benefits that make it so difficult and at times so inhuman; or about being disabled and/or poor and confronted with the scorching ignorance of those who have never known (and likely never will) the horrendous effects of poverty, and who, on top of that, have  the “potestas”, the power to decide  to help or not … as written in particular by “angryoldwoman”, quoted below:

“(…) [Wealthy people] need to think more along the lines of ‘what would happen to me if I lost my job/inheritance/massive pension, and my family were not able to rally round? How would I keep my big comfortable house? My car, my kids in private schools, my pets? How long before my house was repossessed? How long do I have to live on nothing before I can register as unemployed?’ Wealthy people forget that their wealth may have cushioned them forever from the raw nastiness of life, by buying them insurance policies (which premiums poor people cannot afford), pension plans etc, so that whatever happens they will never be in the real shit with the rest of us. ‘You wanna live like common people? You wanna do whatever common people do? You’ll never live like common people, you’ll never watch your life slide out of view’. You only have to have a mistake on your payslip as I have on several occasions, once with a big £0.00 as my total for the month, and watch the incomprehension on your boss’s face when you insist that you can’t wait for it to be added on to next month’s pay, and the horrible feeling of humiliation when they end up writing you a cheque from their own account to sub you – yeah they can afford to pay you your whole month’s wages out of their own pocket. Do I sound bitter? I am a bit. I’m sick of hearing about these smug rich idiots ‘proving’ how easy it is to be poor, while at the same time other people are actually dying, committing suicide because they can’t see any way of existing any more. Try being disabled for a month on NO benefits because some heartless jobsworth has decided you should be working because you can reach up to shoulder height with one arm, but you live in Bristol where thousands of people applied for a shop job in Tesco, who, equal opps notwithstanding, are not about to hire someone in a wheelchair who can only use one arm when they’ve got 4,300 other applicants who are perfectly able. I’m ranting I’m ranting…but I’m so angry and so sad. (ps I do have a job and don’t live in Bristol – I’m just using that as an example).”

Or like “Trialia”‘s:

“(…) My little sister was living on squash, pasta and multivitamins for 3 months while her local council delayed sorting out her Housing Benefit and her landlord insisted on taking nearly all of her Income Support while they did. She was lodging in a room above his home. He ate rich, regular meals and let the smells drift up to her, knowing she could barely afford anything to eat. The only reason the poor kid didn’t end up in hospital was those multivitamins & our stepmother getting a friend to drive us the 200 miles to see her & give her bags of stew & potato stepmum had frozen for her. She had less than a pound a day to live on. Without family support I’m pretty certain she’d have starved – she was bloated with hunger when I saw her there. She’s better now – living elsewhere & on ESA – but she still struggles. I don’t know how she’ll cope with this digital-default system – she can’t afford home internet and she’s agoraphobic.

As for myself, I live on ESA (support group) & DLA (low care/high mobility) – and I’m under-nourished in spite of people believing people “on the sick” receive a fortune. Among my other health problems, of which there are many, I have irritable bowel syndrome and iron-deficiency anaemia, the latter of which makes me liable to fainting, among other symptoms – which is also what happens if I don’t keep the levels of salt & sugar in my blood at a constant: low blood pressure & other problems from my orthostatic dysfunction, and symptomatic hypoglycaemia. I have to be very careful about what I eat, when, & THAT I eat. That’s not easy to do on benefits.

I’m exhausted by having to fight for every scrap I am grudgingly given, despite the fact I’ve done NOTHING wrong – except, apparently, be born poor & develop a degenerative chronic illness. Oh, and I also have to pay extra in electricity to keep my wheelchair charged up – as I live alone I have to go out sometimes. Despite all the verbal & physical abuse from strangers that leaves me afraid to do so.

This political establishment – and their media puppets – have no idea what they’re really doing, to real people. This NEEDS to STOP.”


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