This day’s portion

Aditya Chakrabortty: The problem is poverty, however we label it

/ Commentary

I think this is an important, beautifully written article. Food poverty. Fuel poverty. Child poverty. Clothing poverty. Transport poverty. Period poverty. It’s all poverty.

Because anything is better than admitting that this all stems from one deep structural problem: that, going into the pandemic, more than 14 million Britons – more than one in five of us – did not have enough money to live on. Far more agreeable to dole out food parcels for a week here or there, to cut VAT on tampons, or to brief a couple of warning headlines aimed at the big energy firms.

We donated to the Northgate foodbank recently, which made me feel strangely shameful. But it appears to have become an accepted, even celebrated part of modern life. The concept of a foodbank would have been unthinkable when I was a child.

There is a poverty industry. “Tackling” discrete, smaller, non-structural problems generates contracts and employment, outsourcing the work – and responsibility – from government to professionalised charities.

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