Gransnet forums


Too poor to eat properly

(337 Posts)
Nannyto3 Thu 10-Jan-19 14:28:50

The media seems awash with the fact that families living on Universal Credit or who are otherwise disadvantaged can't afford to eat properly, with children going hungry.
I feel so sorry for people in this situation. But I do wonder just how much 21st century expectations of what constitutes a proper meal (and how to cook it) are to blame.

Years ago we, our mothers and grandmothers cooked most things from scratch, using cheap cuts and whatever was in season to keep costs down.

Even now I make a chicken stretch to 4 different meals for the two of us. I make soup every day out of whatever vegetables I have to hand. Mince is cheap and so versatile and features heavily in our weekly meals. I use my slow cooker on a frequent basis to produce cheap, nutritious meals.

I long to be able to tell families who are struggling just how easy it can be to cook good, wholesome food at a reasonable cost.

Charleygirl5 Tue 15-Jan-19 19:17:18

Lily I think there has been more than one because I know of one, long time dead, who lived in the centre of London in a council flat.

M0nica Tue 15-Jan-19 22:09:12

It was Bob Crow, leader of Rail, Maritime and Transport Union, who died a few years ago who was doing that.

In 2013 he was quoted as saying 'I have no moral duty to move out of council house', despite receiving six-figure salary as RMT boss

M0nica Tue 15-Jan-19 22:09:56

I wonder why the last chapter of 'Animal Farm' comes to mind?

Eloethan Tue 15-Jan-19 22:26:02

What he could have done was bought it at a good discount and made a huge profit.

annep Tue 15-Jan-19 23:51:47

I agree Newnanny. People should be told that once your income reaches a certain level you have x number of years to save a deposit and buy. I understand the difficulties with shortages and downsizing but it seems very harsh to make older folk leave their home. The problem wouldn't exist if we had adequate social housing. It is self financing and eould provide jobs so whats the problem.

paddyann Wed 16-Jan-19 00:40:34

there has never been the same attitude to council houses here as there appears to be down south.Its quite normal for a couple to have had the same house since they married ,bring up their families in it and stay in it when their families move out.Nobody looks down on them or thinks they are taking something that someone more "worthy" should have.
Council housing ISN'T subsidised,it should pay its way and give the councils something to raise loans on when needed .The people who rent them are as deserving of a home for life as anyone who buys ....lots of folk dont want the noose of a mortgage round their neck for 25 years and are happy to upgrade the council house they live in.
When I got married in 1975 we were allocated a brand new two bedroom and boxroom house with a kitchen /diner sitting room and back and front gardens .It was "normal" in this area for newly weds to get these new homes.We stayed in ours for 8 years until we had our business established and then bought a flat
.I'm still freinds with many of my neighbours from then who still live in their first homes, a lot who didn't buy them ,most of the ones who did made a killing on selling them on and depriving young families like them from the council houses thay were so pleased to get.

absent Wed 16-Jan-19 01:19:42

I am well aware of how hard times in the past were for many, but the world has changed. Obviously contemporary expectations are rather different from those of our grandparents' times, but day-to-day life has also changed dramatically since we were young. Look at the increases over the years in water rates, fuel bills, rents, house prices, fares, petrol prices (some people cannot function without a car because of the cuts in public transport) and so on, then think about the increases in what people earn – not the top of the scale people but those who do low- and middle-paid jobs and have to stretch every penny to survive. The differential between the haves and have-nots, which has always been unfair in the UK (and many other countries), is now so disproportionate it is ridiculous.

In the past, among the poorest both mother and father had to work to make ends meet, but otherwise it was very common for mums to be homemaker and for dad's wages/salary to be enough to support the family – not necessarily in luxury, but adequately. Nowadays, few families can function without both parents being in full-time paid work. That is the reason why granny duty is so widespread now, but wasn't when we were kids.

The economics of managing a family, even a small one, are complex. Yes, it would have helped if traditional cookery lessons hadn't been abandoned in schools. Yes, if you work a night shift, you might well have time to do some careful frugal shopping during the day, if only your body clock wasn't all over the place.

It is easy to sit back and make judgements about other people – as if we don't all have failings and weaknesses. I'm not sure that we can walk in someone else's shoes until we have to wear the same shoes, but I think we need – and our media needs – to bite tongues a bit more often.

M0nica Wed 16-Jan-19 10:30:00

Paddyann The attitude in the south has only been different since the numbers of people in the south unable to afford to rent any property has become so critical. The housing situation in the northeast, northwest and parts of the midlands is far less critical than in the south east.

newnanny Wed 16-Jan-19 11:16:34

I think it would be very hard for an elderly couple who had raised their children in a three or four bed home to have to move into a one bed home. However i agree when faced with that choice or a family with three or four children living in B&B then the family with children should be given the larger home. That way both families do have a home. Also elderly couple might be reminded that when they had small children they were given a home and chance to raise their family so they should not deny another family the same security.

I really feel strongly that if your income is above X you should not be allowed to remain in SH. It is just unfair.

Fennel Wed 16-Jan-19 11:55:41

Another point about the N/S divide - the cost of houses.
You can buy a nice little Tyneside flat for 40-50k. But probably income is lower here.

M0nica Wed 16-Jan-19 19:12:16

What people in social housing want is stability. It should be possible to give tenants long term tenancies tied to age or family circumstances. for example. while there are children under 25 or dependent relatives still living at home, or until the age of 60 or similar, with discussions on alternative accommodation in the run up to that.