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Wednesday, 01 March 2017 09:27

Financial name and shame is all well and good, but the blame lies firmly with ‘the powers that be’

Millions of families – 19 million people – “just about managing” are on the verge of tipping into poverty, according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, who also predicts that it may drastically worsen over the next few years!

No wonder, when hundreds, including household names like Debenhams and Subway, fail to pay either the National Minimum Wage or the National Living Wage and the government does little in the way to make any positive impact.

Nearly a third of Britain’s population is living on an “inadequate” income, but worry no more, because the government has ‘promised’ to tackle the issue to raise incomes. Really?! The figures are up from 15 million six years ago, when the Tories were in power, and remain so today.

Is the fact that so many people in the UK fall short of the relatively low minimum income benchmark really so alarming? Not really, when you consider that household costs have continued to rise and incomes fallen or have ground to a halt.

What truly is alarming, is that among the 19 million are six million children – that’s a staggering 45 per cent of all children in Britain. Add to that, food bank usage is at record high of 1.1 million, with almost half a million emergency food supplies given to children.

These figures paint a bleak picture for future generations and hardly ring true with paltry government words; "We're determined to build an economy that works for everyone and we are taking decisive action to help with the cost of living".

It hardly seems fitting that given their own pitiful stance, the government feels it can name and shame 360 firms for underpaying workers!! So, business minister Margot James, what are you going to do then, if as you say, "Every worker in the UK is entitled to at least the national minimum or living wage and this government will ensure they get it"?

More than 15,500 workers had to be paid nearly £1 million in back pay, but this may only be the tip of the iceberg with The Office for National Statistics calculating that 362,000 jobs did not pay the National Minimum Wage.

According to the TUC's general secretary, Frances O'Grady, “This should be a wake-up call for employers who value their reputation.” Hang on a minute here. What about these statistics being a wake-up call for the government too? You know, the ones in power who supposedly in a democratic society have the ability to actually change things for the greater good?!

In the corridors of power, shouldn’t they hang their heads in shame as Britain lags behind the developed world on child poverty, where the UK ranks 25th out of 37 wealthy countries – behind Poland, Romania and Slovenia according to a Unicef report.

It seems there has been little impact since last year when the government was reprimand by the UN and the words seemingly falling on deaf ears from Unicef’s deputy executive director, who stated the country “can and must do better” and should be “more ambitious” for its children, adding that the government should take more action to reduce income inequality. Yet, where we find ourselves is with a government still committed to £3 billion in welfare cuts that will affect one million households by 2020.

Do you earn enough for a basic standard of living? Answer three short questions and find out the minimum income for your family type.

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