Rough sleeping and foodbanks on the increase in a country of 100 billionaires - what is going on?
Sodhi Singh, 50, became the 10th rough sleeper to die in Redbridge over the past year. There have been 449 deaths of homeless people across the UK over the past 12 months – 109 in London.
Many of those suffering on the streets have been effectively cut off, unable to resort to public funds. They are dependent on charities to support them and help sort out complex situations – often relating to immigration matters.
Redbridge Council is doing what it can to address the issue.
It is an indictment on our society that there are people living rough and dying on our streets. Others are struggling by doing two or three low paid jobs just to survive. Add to this the millions who go to food banks due to an inability to feed themselves and the picture worsens.
This is all happening in a country with more than 100 billionaires in residence. There are many more millionaires. So how can such a grotesque polarisation of wealth be allowed to continue.
There have been the so called austerity measures of the last few years, which have effectively made the poorest members of society carry the burden for the 2008 financial crisis. Though government has used austerity as easy cover for an idealogically driven policy of privatising public services.
These policies have no doubt made the division between the small number of haves and the have nots grow ever wider but that division was there before austerity.
The gap between the very rich (1%) and everyone else (99%) has been growing for many years. The UK has become one of the most unequal societies in the world – a country where inequality thrives.
The gender gap on pay between men and women remains at 17.9%, some 40 years after the Fair Pay Act. The worst off in society are undoubtedly Black and Minority Ethnic women.
This way of running things is totally immoral and unjust. It is high time that we saw policies that will promote equality and reduce the gap between rich and poor.
Policies that will provide safe places to live and decent jobs for people. Policies that will see people no longer living on the streets and the foodbanks closing down.
If we do not move as a society to address the gross inequalities then a dangerous future beckons for everyone. It is not only morally right to have a fairer distribution of wealth but makes life more safe and secure for everyone in society as well.
published - Wanstead and Woodford Guardian - 15/11/2018