What is Poverty?

October 16, 2011 at 8:22 pm 6 comments

If you don’t know why I do this please read the About Lesley page….

This is a post that may divide people. I am prepared for that and will be interested in any comments you may make. You may label me as a woolly liberal, a softie if you will. This is probably true but I do believe that those who can work should, I don’t think society should take care of the idle. However, in a time of rising unemployment those who wish to work may not get the chance and I think we should remember this.

What prompts this post was the report this week by the Institute of Fiscal Studies. They have published a paper entitled ‘Child and Working Age Poverty and Inequality in UK: 2010’. I have read through this paper, the conclusions are at best thought-provoking, at worst scary. I suggest that everyone take a read through the Extended Summary of this document. Some of the forecasts will make depressing reading. They are forecasts and I know there is no absolute science to economic forecasting. The Government disagrees with the conclusions and responded that the report doesn’t take into account the impacts the Universal Credit and Work Programme will bring. We should also note that the calculation for a household dropping into povery is where the household income which falls below 60% of the median income. Statistics eh?

They say money can’t buy you love. They say money can’t buy you happiness. Both statements are true. However, money can bring you choices. One of the best Dicken’s quotes is by Mr. Micawber in David Copperfield – ‘Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.’

Living in poverty reduces or removes choice. When you spend every day trying to eke out your money for food, clothing, bills, all the time knowing you will never have quite enough, therein misery lies. Compounding this is the consumer-driven society we live in. Poverty in an affluent society means you will be surrounded by things you and your children cannot have.

Choice is easier for those of us who have some disposable income. It can be the choice to get chips instead of cooking or having that pair of shoes. We still have our budgets to stick to, we have our limits. But if we have major life choices to make we have the luxury to think about them. Be it taking time out, moving country, changing our lives completely, we can at least consider. You may not make the changes, you may postpone them, that will be your choice too.

What if your dream was simply to have a warm home with good meals for your children? It might be that you want your child to go on a day-trip with his or her schoolfriends. You only want your children to have the options that you don’t have. It is known from research that children who live in poverty can fall behind in school leaving them further disadvantaged. How do you see light at the end of the tunnel when you know this is the case?

What is my definition of poverty? Among all the facts and figures I think poverty is an absence of hope.

I close, as always, with this:-

  • Donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are old enough.

I will:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading.


Entry filed under: Childhood, Children, Donating, Giving, Life, News, Poverty, wheniwas8. Tags: , , , , , , .

Where Does the Money Go? Support Needed….

6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Ray  |  October 16, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    I agree with everything you have said. However some parents abandon hope for themselves and therefore for their children. Being brought up in such a household is the true definition of poverty, not just monetary but an abandonment of hope by your parents. Those children have my sincere sympathy. If the parents give up so often do the children.I have no solution alas, just a hope that the children will look beyond that and help themselves to change their lives. I will of course make a donation to Save The Children.

    • 2. when i was 8 i wanted to be....  |  October 17, 2011 at 7:08 am


      You are right. A loss of hope has so many ramifications for an entire family. I do hope that the children get to see some light for their future and this is why I do this.

      I do hope you tell me when you make your donation and I can add the amount to the blogtotals, also hoping that you tell me what you wanted to be when you were eight:)

      Lesley x

  • 3. ladymaryan  |  October 16, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    Dear Lesley,

    most of the people I am looking after, are living in poverty. Their lives are affected by inequalities in all aspects imaginable, including health and education. Even if they get the chance to go to school, they often fail because their lives’ circumstances are unfavourable.

    Low self-esteem and shame are amongst the psychological impacts of poverty. This vicious circle and is hard to break, as it is deeply rooted in society. The permanent striving for economic growth leaves no room for real change and elimination of inequalites.

    There is no quick and simple answer to this problem. Again, we can only try to improve the world where we are and in my opinion this doesn’t necessarily mean to give 50 pence to the beggar in the street, when we are on our way home from one of our shopping sprees. Personal involvement is needed and that’s why I appreciate your blog so much.

    Claudia xx

    • 4. when i was 8 i wanted to be....  |  October 16, 2011 at 9:53 pm

      oh Claudia,

      Thank you so much! I do think your words are so powerful that you do a better job than me:) Perhaps you would like to do a guest post sometime writing about your experiences? I would be happy to do this…

      Lesley xxxx

  • 5. iainmonty  |  October 16, 2011 at 8:31 pm

    We live in a time when median income is falling yet more are measured as in poverty.

    This is the exact opposite of how it should be.

    So many young people are denied the choice and dignity of employment of any sort, and those that have work are forced to take what they can get.

    They are the people who should be given the options needed to be independent and self-reliant, not papering over the cracks of a broken economic model.

    • 6. when i was 8 i wanted to be....  |  October 16, 2011 at 8:37 pm

      Hi Iain,

      It is my hope that the young can get some choices, I just feel that current times will not lend themselves to this:(

      Lesley xx


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