Are healthier lifestyles less achievable for families on a lower income?

This week, the Surrey Mirror asked local politicians to comment on the question: Are healthier lifestyles less achievable for families on a lower income?  Sue Fenton, newly-elected Councillor for Earlswood & Whitebushes, responded:

Former Work & Pensions Secretary Ian Duncan Smith famously claimed he could live on £53 benefits a week, despite shortly after trying to charge taxpayers £39 for just one breakfast. Many guides exist to living frugally, but can the poorest children not just survive, but reach their potential in modern Britain?

The figures, and experts, say otherwise, with UN poverty rapporteurs reporting that the Conservatives are “inflicting great misery” on people with “punitive, mean-spirited, and callous” austerity policies driven by political desire for social re-engineering, rather than economic necessity. Some policies, like fit-to-work assessments, actually cost more to administer than they save, leaving it tough to dispute claims of ‘conscious cruelty’ raised against the government.

Consequently, in the world’s fifth richest country, we see poverty, hunger, homelessness, illness and desperation soaring. 14 million people are living in poverty, and 1.5 million cannot afford basics like food or shelter. Teachers report that children are eating out of bins, and food bank use is rising faster in Surrey than anywhere else nationwide – almost half of packages going to children. Homelessness has more than doubled since 2010, and mental health services, youth and children centres are shutting down nationally and across our county.

While low-income families may be able to strive in small ways for ‘healthier lifestyles’, the question for too many isn’t ‘home-cooked food and gym classes’ versus ‘microwave meal and walking’, but about struggling to survive until next payday, hoping that vital benefits aren’t cut off or unexpected expenses crop up.

The government urgently needs to reverse cuts to councils (which provide lifeline services to millions), end austerity and ensure that nobody goes to bed hungry, cold or on the street in the UK, especially our children. We have the money and knowledge to achieve this – all we currently lack is the political will.

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One Comment

  1. Joe ryen
    Posted Thursday, 17 October 2019 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    They don’t care about anything other that them selves! How can some one who is doing ok in live and surviving make the nessecary decisions to help the poor when he or she has never taken a step in the sufferers shoe! They wouldn’t know the first place to start trying to help. First thing we need spare time to farm our own organic produce and land to do it! The biggest crime in England is not allowing God’s people to use the land in the way it was intended by god which is to firstly produce all that is needed to stay healthy! Unless we own land big enough to yield a crop then we have no where to grow our food which should be our medicine. Second biggest crime is the fact that all of our time is consumed paying bills trying to keep the failed system from bankruptcy rather than having spare time to research what one should be eating to stay alive let alone the time to plant and reap our harvest. I feel like I’m stuck in this country I born in waiting to die! I want to live life and there is no life to live here. I want to reach some where that fruit is dropping off of trees and going to waste!
    Government from the Latin verb “guverno””guvernare” meaning to control and the Latin noun “mens” “mentis” meaning mind. Government – “control of the mind”

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