Dickensian inequality in 21st century Britain

Poverty hits children disproportionately hard.

Poverty hits children disproportionately hard. In London, the most unequal city in Britain, 37% of children live below the poverty line. 45,000 children live in temporary accommodation in the capital.

This is a new scale we are approaching here. Many of us have our own experiences with childhood poverty, or some level of financial strain. Many of us still do. But to have one in four children across the country living in poverty is staggering and revolting.

My nieces are approaching their third birthdays and bafflingly this means the search for school places begins soon. There is a whole madness of battling for school places because apparently we are content to have this wild inequality and gamed system rather than ensuring that all schools are well-funded and provide a great education.

Plus, schools in the most disadvantaged areas are having to pick up the slack from austerity. When we say "schools" of course we mean the individuals within them. Teachers and schools are constantly being exhorted to do more, and yet are doing so much unacknowledged work that ought not be necessary.


Conditions children are living in have been described as Dickensian. Schools are feeding children and washing their clothes.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation's new report looks at the links between poverty, child abuse, and neglect. Plus, JRF have lots of information and great guides like this on how to talk about poverty constructively. And yes, that Rowntree. A big philanthropist in the Victorian era it is horrifying that this work is still so necessary in the 21st century.

Child Poverty Action Group "work to understand what causes poverty, the impact it has on children's lives, and how it can be solved."

Trust for London highlights the stark inequality in the UK's capital with data that is accessible and wide-ranging.

Lest we forget, a UN envoy was in the UK last year and produced a damning report that is a stain on the government. In a common Western hypocrisy we would wring our hands if such a report came out of an African country or elsewhere in the world. What massive action has been taken? None.

Personally, I recently started a monthly donation to GiveDirectly for their Basic Income work. There's a leverage in myself in the UK being able to provide a basic monthly income to someone in Kenya. That's a difference in living standards that upsets me, so I'm going to make the most of it in revenge.

Ultimately, I'd like We Are The Village to take a role in supporting the work that these charities and others do. For now, thank you for reading, and if you enjoy WATV you can subscribe to show your support and get future issues by email.