When the word poverty is mentioned, most people picture African children running around on dirty grounds in a third world country. The media has played a huge role into this narrative of poverty only existing in third world countries, despite many reports of increased poverty in the UK.
Within the UK poverty is a difficult subject to measure due perception of poverty (as above) and due to the fact that poverty means different things for different people.
According the Social Metrics Commission report of poverty in the UK (2016/2017), there is “an estimated 14.2 million people in a family in poverty in the UK” and “around 22% of the public are in poverty, and nearly 33% of children”.
A publication by GOV.uk (2013) stated that according to its data “among the broad ethnic groups, Black people were most likely to live in the most deprived neighbourhoods, followed by Asian people – 19.6% and 17.1% of these groups lived in the most deprived 10% of neighbourhoods”.
Recent studies are still confirming that BME communities are the ones affected by poverty In the UK. According to an article published by The Guardian (2017), “Around one quarter of BME households live in the oldest pre-1919 built homes. One in six ethnic minority families have a home with a category one hazard under the housing, health and safety rating system. BME communities are over-concentrated in the most deprived neighbourhoods in Britain’s cities”. Currently in England, people living in the least deprived areas of the country live around 20 years longer in good health than people in the most deprived areas (HealthPublicmatters. 2017).
In areas of deprivation, unemployment rates are higher, crime rates are higher, permanent exclusion from schools are higher, healthcare and mortality rates are higher and living standards are lower. Exclusion from school can have an influence on employment. Unemployment can cause an increase in crimes rates all leading to further deprivation among individuals. It is evident that there is a continuous cycle concerning deprivation and poverty in the UK.
What is the cause of this continuous cycle?
Racism inequality and social injustice. These factors determine housing, the type of support an individual receives when seeking healthcare or seeking for support from authorities such as police, it determines employment status and guides the narrative that, BME people are much more likely to be living in poverty in comparison to their white counterparts.
How is Britain tackling this issue?
An article writing by Debbie Weekes-Bernard (2018) stated that the integration strategy put in place by the government must focus on BME families if we are to tackle this issue of deprivation and poverty. The Integrated Communities Strategy Green Paper (2018) reported that, its vision about true integration is about “communities where people, whatever their background, live, work, learn and socialise together, based on shared rights, responsibilities and opportunities.
It reported that, its plan to dismantle these barriers in Britain includes Build on existing good practice, taking a whole government approach, implementing a national framework of priorities locally and listening to people. Some of the current challenges according to the paper include, lack of English language proficiency, Personal, religious and cultural norms, values and attitudes and Lack of meaningful social mixing.
It is important that we as a community challenge racism and injustice faced within schools, health sectors, employment, authorities and housing. It is important to work alongside the governments recommendations and be open to exploring new ideas. Change can be uncomfortable an unsettling however, it is a vital part of development and can contribute positively to this current issue of deprivation and poverty.
References and Further Reading