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Less people living in Absolute Poverty according to Mrs May

(114 Posts)
trisher Wed 22-Nov-17 16:42:29

Today on PMQT Mrs May proudly announced that there are now less people in the UK living in absolute poverty than ever before.
ABSOLUTE POVERTY according to the UN
In 1995 Absolute poverty was defined as:
a condition characterised by severe deprivation of basic human needs, including food, safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, health, shelter, education and information. It depends not only on income but also on access to services.
Am I alone in thinking NO ONE in the UK should be living in Absolute Poverty and the fact that there are less is nothing to boast about.

Baggs Wed 22-Nov-17 16:47:00

Did she really say less people?

lemongrove Wed 22-Nov-17 16:47:33

There will always be a few though, rough sleepers as the homeless are called ,amongst them.
Thankfully, very few.

Baggs Wed 22-Nov-17 16:47:42

No, you are not alone.

Baggs Wed 22-Nov-17 16:48:27

Yes, there will always be a few because nothing's perfect. That statement is not condoning anything, just facing reality.

lemongrove Wed 22-Nov-17 16:50:03


eazybee Wed 22-Nov-17 16:53:03

She is not boasting. She is saying there are fewer, and that is progress towards the ultimate goal of no-one living in that condition, unless they choose to, as some always will.

Anniebach Wed 22-Nov-17 16:53:30

No one should be living in absolute poverty , some homeless choose to. In fairness to May she wasn't boasting just giving figures

M0nica Wed 22-Nov-17 16:56:33

I clicked on this thread, expecting to see all the usual suspects names and instead found a rational discussion.

Mrs May clearly spoke ungrammatically and with an absence of precision. A perfect example of the importance of good grammar and careful use of vocabulary.

I would imagine the information she was trying to impart: that fewer people are living in poverty comes from statistics provided by the Office of National Statistics and is, in my opinion, good news, regardless of the colour of the government in power when this happens.

Smithy Wed 22-Nov-17 17:20:21

So, would going to food banks not be classed as poverty? Genuine question, I'm not trying to argue a point. I think if I was unfortunate enoughbto have to rely on a food bank I'd feel impoverished. And do you really think some people prefer to live on the streets, I'm not sure I do.

M0nica Wed 22-Nov-17 17:36:47

Nobody is suggesting that no one is in poverty and, yes, someone needing to use a food bank is in poverty.There are also many people in poverty who are not using food banks. All Mrs May was saying was overall there are fewer of them

Nor do people want to live on the streets, if fewer are living on the streets it does not mean that too many still are, and there will always be some, who are so alienated that they do prefer it.

We had one man locally, a friend did all she could to help him, but he did not want to be helped. Whatever had alienated him had done it so thoroughly that he absolutely refused to engage with those wanting to help him, presumably preferring life on the streets.

There will always be short term homeless; thrown out by family or partner, or temporarily out of funds who spend possibly a few weeks on the streets then get a roof over their heads again.

M0nica Wed 22-Nov-17 17:37:38

Sorry, it does mean that too many still are

silverlining48 Wed 22-Nov-17 17:55:22

I did a bit of study in the 80’s and Poverty was generally divided into Absolute and relative. Poverty in this country is usually relative apart from a very few cases.

trisher Wed 22-Nov-17 18:22:57

silverlining48 you have the point exactly. She was asked about the rise in numbers of children and families living in poverty (and they are up) she ignored the question and announced that those iving in Absolute Poverty were down. She didn't give any figures of course, but it's disgusting anyway.

MamaCaz Wed 22-Nov-17 18:27:15

A genuine question: How are the homeless counted? I can see how a rough headcount of rough sleepers can be done in town/city centres and how numbers looking for overnight hostel accommodation or using other services targetting the homeless are collected, but how accurate a picture does this actually provide? If I remember rightly, haven't some places now adopted a no tolerance approach, which might have led to many moving to places that are off the radar?

As for fewer v less, I have started to overlook this 'error' on the basis that I firmly believe that it has never been recognised or applied by at least 90% of our population! grin

MawBroon Wed 22-Nov-17 19:56:32


whitewave Wed 22-Nov-17 20:10:21

How on earth can you have a zero tolerance of the homeless?

whitewave Wed 22-Nov-17 20:11:19

Perhaps they had better die and solve the problem

M0nica Wed 22-Nov-17 20:16:21

Mamacaz Trying to find out how the count is carried out is less easy than I expected, but a preparatory document for the census said Local Authorities have to undertake a homeless count every year. How they do it is up to them, but the census seemed to think that in most cases this is done satisfactorily and in bigger urban areas very well. They also count all those in hostels and night shelters. LAs usually liaise with the local police

I would guess that all but a very small proportion of homeless people will be in built up areas, whether cities, towns of all sizes and some villages, very few will be sleeping rough in rural areas.

Is the count of the homeless accurate to the last homeless person - I doubt it. I think that the result is probably accurate to within +/- 10%, which should be accurate enough for most purposes.

trisher Wed 22-Nov-17 20:35:12

Oh it's so much more complicated than I thought. Apparently the UK does not accept the UN definition.
A household is in relative poverty (also called relative low income) if its income is below 60% of the median household income. .

As we explained above, it defines “relative poverty” in comparison to median incomes in the current year.

It defines “absolute poverty” in comparison to the median in 2010/11.

It all puts me in mind of the Victorians and the deserving and undeserving poor

Jalima1108 Wed 22-Nov-17 20:49:01

And do you really think some people prefer to live on the streets, I'm not sure I do.
On the streets, in the countryside? I think that there are a few, a very few, who do prefer it.
I mentioned in a previous thread that people are living rough in the Mendips - but there is help available. Presumably they may come in to seek that help now winter is setting in.

Anniebach Wed 22-Nov-17 20:53:38

There are homeless in Cardiff who choose to stay in Cardiff than return to their home town and accomodation . This is not Cardiff trying to clear the city, there are not enough hostels and they will arrange accomodation in smaller towns which doesn't have people sleeping on the streets

Jalima1108 Wed 22-Nov-17 20:55:40

This year the median income for the whole of the UK: median original income for the whole of the UK was £35,204.
at £26,000, the median disposable household income in 2016 was up £600 on the year before

It depends, too, on area and the cost of housing in that particular area which can fluctuate a lot over the UK.

So is it 60% of the first or second figure?

Primrose65 Wed 22-Nov-17 21:10:15

There's a very informative article on poverty at fullfact

Deedaa Wed 22-Nov-17 21:40:04

Surely the median income doesn't work if you live in an area where rents are way above the average. A better figure is the percentage of the income that is left after paying rent. (In DS's case not much!)