What we know this week
Getting By? report charting struggle of Liverpool’s working poor to be presented to Parliament
The Getting By? charting the depth of poverty amongst working families in Liverpool is now published and will be presented to a leading Parliamentary group later this month. The report sets out how working people earning below the Living Wage have been driven into inescapable debt, forced to use food banks to feed their families and are suffering anxiety, and sometimes depression, as a direct result of their financial stresses.
The 160 page document focuses on the struggle of 30 working Liverpool families over a year and will be presented to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Poverty on Tuesday. It was produced by a team of volunteers and part-funded by Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson to help show the realities facing the UK’s 5 million low paid workers.
Getting By? co-ordinator Paul Kyprianou said: “The evidence from families would be bad enough if they were jobless. The terrible truth is that these are employed people – some of them with two or three jobs – who simply cannot afford even a basic standard of living.
“Just adding 20p to the National Minimum wage will make no difference and may leave even more families in what you could call a ‘working poverty trap’. The Government has got to take notice and implement a proper and fair living wage for everyone.”
Mr Kyprianou will present the report to the Parliamentary group with Liverpool City Councillor Frank Hont. He hopes it will influence the policies of charities and other local authorities by exposing the realities of the struggle facing working people around the UK and providing genuine evidence of the impact it has on everything from personal health to family and social lives.
Frank, Liverpool’s Cabinet Member for Fairness, Equality and Inclusion, said: “As councillors, we were constantly told that the statistics are interesting but that we needed to tell ‘real stories’ about the impact of poverty. Getting By? does this and shows precisely why inequality remains the single greatest challenge facing society today.”
Thousands of working families are struggling on low incomes in the face of everything from wage freezes and welfare cuts to spiraling energy costs and cuts in essential services.
Getting By? is a year-long Liverpool-based inquiry into the stark realities that lie behind official employment statistics.
We are using community research to tell the stories of 30 volunteer families over the 12 months and capturing other views and experiences through our Voices project, before producing a final report on what we have found.
Whether you’re a family wishing to take part, an agency wanting to contribute your experiences and views or an individual who cares about the issues that we highlight, we look forward to your contribution.
Families talk about their experiences of working poverty (short version)
Read what is on our Blog
The political rhetoric that talks about everyone being in the same boat as part of the justification of austerity measures to reduce national debt would be laughable if its consequences were not so serious. In part the real agenda is about reducing welfare to a minimum and likewise the overall role of the state. It’s about allowing ‘market forces’ to dictate what happens not only to the economy, but in the wider society with government focusing on property rights above human rights.