Tag Archives: Social Exlusion

Global inequalities and social exclusion

I just read in the week that 40% of 8-15 year olds in the UK have never been on a plane. Now this might be due to parental choice, but I imagine it also has something to do with parents not being able to afford it. Think about it – surely 40% of families don’t choose to avoid a fly-to destination for 8-15 years? The poverty hypothesis also seems sensible given that 12.5 million people in the UK live below the government’s poverty line.  

While the measure lacks validity on its own, in combination with other evidence, I take this as another indicator of the extent of inequality in the United Kingdom. It is also a useful demonstration of how few people are able to afford even a sniff of luxury.

Obscene - The world's most expensive house
Obscene - The world's most expensive house

Meanwhile, also in the week, two examples of people having too much money – firstly, Mukesh Ambani, India’s richest man, has built the world’s most expensive house , overlooking the slums of Mumbai – no doubt increasing the sense of social exlusion that the slum dwellers already experience there.

Different pieces of evidence demonstrating that the degree  of inequality in this world has just gone way too far.

Joseph Rowntree Foundation – Monitoring Poverty and Social Exlusion Annual Report 2010

Or Modern Britain: What a mess
Fresh out today – the latest annual report from the JRF

OK, so you may accuse me of biased interpretation of the stats (see below) but I get the following impression – there are more people (13 million!) living in poverty this year compared to last – despite the fact that the wealth of the richest thousand people grew by £77 billion last year.

On the plus side, the number of children leaving school without qualifications has fallen, so our kids are better educated – however, the unemployment rate for 16-24 year olds is the highest in nearly two decades, so those qualifications won’t get them jobs, so aren’t that much use in lifting them out of poverty.Finally, the number of workless families who are in poverty has fallen in the last year, while the number of children in working families in poverty has risen – suggesting that combining work and having a family is economically irrational.

Maybe now that children from poorer families are better educated, they are in an even better position to figure out that work doesn’t pay compared to staying of benefits!

This is what I love about the JRF ‘monitoring poverty’ report – it’s a no nonsense guide to how messed up our country is!

In a summary in the Guardian Julia Unwin says –

‘Over the last decade we have seen poverty rates fall, before rising back up to their highest levels for years, with many of the gains lost years before the recession reared its head. In terms of income poverty, on the most-used measure, we are back to where we started at the beginning of the millennium, with rates now at the same level as 2000; having risen every year since 2004/05. The advances made during Labour’s first term did not hold.’

Some of the key stats from the summary

  • By 2008/09, 13m people were in poverty. Of these, 5.8m (44% of the total) were in ‘deep poverty’ (household income at least one-third below the poverty line), the highest proportion on record.
  • Despite the recession, the number of children in poverty in workless families fell in 2008/09, to 1.6m, the lowest since 1984, but those in working families rose slightly to 2.1m, the highest on record.
  • The numbers of 16-year-olds lacking five GCSEs at any level and of 19-year-olds lacking a level 2 qualification fell in 2009, and are lower than any time in the previous decade.
  • By mid-2010, the unemployment rate among those aged16–24 was, at 20%, the highest in 18 years, and three times that for other adults. After the last recession (1993), the rate was 16%, twice as high as for the rest of the population.