What it means to be poor

4 10 2013

Kevin Bridges

I have been enjoying a nght in front of the TV watching comedian Kevin Bridges. I laughed out loud at his take on the recession and the debt levels in America of 16 trillion dollars – the idea of Africa rounding up some great rock bands to stage a concert for us as (In Mr Bridges words) “It’s their round” – is comedy gold.

I often talk about my finances and how broke I am. However the reality is that FFOMC and I are comfortable and have everything we actually need. This does not mean we do not have aspirations but we can not really consider orselves to be truely poor. It made me remember a docummentary I watched some time ago about the definition of poverty in England.

As part of the program the presenter revealed the list used to determine if a family are living in poverty. Apologies for the copy and paste job but I found it really interesting and for anyone who did not see the docummentary it is worth scanning. It is surprising that some of the items have made it on to the list but depressing to think how many of the things we regard as necessities are not affordable to many families. If a family does not have access to any three of the things on this list because of financial constraints they are deemed to be living in poverty:

  • Heating to keep home adequately warm
  • Damp-free home
  • Two meals a day
  • Visit friends or family in hospital or other institutions
  • Replace or repair broken electrical goods
  • Fresh fruit and vegetables every day
  • Washing machine at home
  • All recommended dental treatment
  • Celebrations on special occasions
  • Warm waterproof coat
  • Attend weddings, funerals and other such occasions
  • Telephone
  • Meat, fish or vegetarian equivalent every other day
  • Curtains or window blinds
  • Enough money to keep your home in a decent state of decoration
  • Household contents insurance
  • Hobby or leisure activity
  • Appropriate clothes for job interviews
  • Table and chairs at which the family can eat
  • Taking part in sport or exercise activities or classes
  • To be able to pay unexpected costs of £500
  • Two pairs of all weather shoes
  • Regular savings (of at least £20 per month) for rainy days
  • Television
  • Regular payments to an occupational or private pension






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