April 8, 2009
A new report has revealed that a fifth of Britain’s population - equivalent to some 13 million people - are officially living in poverty. Almost simultaneously, the government has announced a gift of £100 million to “to rebuild southern Africa’s infrastructure after decades of neglect.”
According to an Oxfam report called “Close to Home — UK Poverty and the Economic Downturn,” life for the fifth of the UK’s population living in poverty is set to worsen because of the recession.
At the same time, Gareth Thomas, minister of state at the department for international development announced in Lusaka on Monday that Britain will be giving £100 million of taxpayers’ money to build a North-South corridor in Africa to try and rectify what he claims is the reason behind Africa’s plummeting share of world trade.
Mr Thomas said, “One of the reasons why Africa’s share of trade has dropped from six percent in the 1960s to one to two percent now is because of how long it takes to get goods to market. That’s because of the poor quality of infrastructure in the region.”
African governments themselves are responsible for the neglect, which has seen functional systems degrade into dilapidation in the decades since independence. Even major developments since then have declined in effectiveness, such as the Chinese-built Tazara railway from Zambia to Dar es Salaam, which now suffers from a shortage of rolling stock.
Meanwhile, the Oxfam report on poverty in Britain contained a poll which shows just four percent of adults think the government has done enough to help those who have lost their jobs.
The charity says the UK is becoming a nation of “Freds,” a concept it has created to sum up the plight of people it says are forgotten, ripped off, excluded and debt-ridden.
A report issued by the children’s charity Barnardo’s in Northern Ireland has warned that the health and welfare of children living in poverty is set to hit crisis point as the recession takes hold.
The charity is concerned more families will be forced to rely on loan sharks and will have to cut back on basics like heating to make ends meet.
Lynday Wilson, of Barnardo’s NI, said poor families faced a terrible strain.
“This is not a one-off for families struggling to get by. This is a constant cycle of deprivation they’re fighting against. But the pressure on parents, if only to keep their children warm, is harder than ever right now, with uncommonly cold weather, high fuel prices and growing numbers of parents becoming unemployed.”
The government defines poverty as having an income of 60 percent or less of the median — on this basis 13.2 million people in the UK live in poverty, 22 percent of the population.
Despite this dreadful state of affairs, it is clear that the government - in terms of foreign aid policies developed over decades by successive Tory and Labour regimes, clearly considers it more important to endlessly fund proven failed states in the Third World.
The time has come to put an end to the Labour and Tory parties’ ability to play Father Christmas with British tax money handouts to undeserving and ungrateful Third World nations.
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Tags: labour, conservative, bnp, liberal, democrat, election, britain, british,
Location: Stafford, Staffordshire, United Kingdom (UK/GB) (load item map)
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