Destitution in the UK - Scarce Investment must be targeted at tackling poverty and Inequality in Sport and Physical activity Policy Says Think Tank
Posted: Sat, 12 Dec 2020 14:44
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has highlighted levels of poverty in the UK, even before Covid-19, are at levels of destitution for many families.
This study, the third in the Destitution in the UK series, reveals that even before the COVID-19 outbreak destitution was rapidly growing in scale and intensity.
Director of the Sports Think Tank Andy Reed said " We have to retain a level of humility about what sport can and can't do with such levels of destitution. We will always be realistic about the limits of the contribution sport and PA policy can make against this backdrop "
We know that poverty and inequality are one of the biggest factors in levels of inactivity. That's why this week at the House of Lords Inquiry we demanded that policy and resources for sport and activity should be targeted at tackling inequality and poverty. What limited resources are spent across government on sport policy should be used to tackle these issues. We know from the figures that the SROI is greatest in amongst this group and in these areas of greatest deprivation."
This study, the third in the Destitution in the UK series, reveals that even before the COVID-19 outbreak destitution was rapidly growing in scale and intensity. Since 2017 many more households, including families with children, have been pushed to the brink.
I support these conclusions and suggested policy responses. Our own work will reflect this in 2021
Destitution in the UK 2020 - the JRF Says:-
The UK should be a country where everyone has the chance of a healthy, decent and secure life regardless of where they live. Instead, too many people are experiencing destitution. This means not being able to afford the absolute essentials that we all need to eat, stay warm and dry, and keep clean. This is simply not right.
The UK and devolved governments quickly provided a series of temporary lifelines to help people weather the coronavirus storm. But we need more sustained efforts to keep afloat people who are already struggling, and to turn back the rising tide of destitution.
JRF recommends that the UK and devolved governments should:
- Make the £20 weekly uplift in Universal Credit (UC) and Working Tax Credit (WTC) permanent and extend this lifeline to those claiming legacy benefits.
- Work in partnership with people with lived experience of the social security system to ensure that debt deductions from benefits are not drivers of hardship and destitution. In particular, the minimum five-week wait for the first UC payment is a core driver of destitution, with many people forced to borrow UC advances to survive this period, leaving them facing unaffordable repayments.
- Invest in local welfare assistance, ensuring that every English local authority has a scheme that provides direct support, including cash, to keep added pressure off households when a crisis threatens to push them into destitution.
- Establish a targeted grant programme to support private and social renters who have fallen into arrears which they will otherwise struggle to pay back.
- Use the upcoming employment bill to reduce insecurity for low-paid workers by