The UK’s Office for National Statistics recently announced another record rise in deaths from homelessness. In the context of this post, you should take the word ‘homeless’ literally to mean without shelter, not just having to move frequently from B&B to B&B. The ONS estimates that 726 homeless people died last year – that’s roughly two people per day. In what is still one of the richest countries in the world.
To help contain this rising death toll, the Trussell Trust – Britain’s leading provider of food bank services – has been handing out an ever-increasing number of food parcels.
As the chart below indicates, since 2013, the number of homeless has risen almost 100%, while the growth in food parcels has been around 75% and the number of deaths has risen by around 40%.
And it is not that we cannot afford to do better: over this same timeframe, on a per person, inflation adjusted basis, the UK economy has grown around 5% richer.
The Trussell Trust’s analysis of the causes of food bank usage shows the impact of Government policy on food poverty.
Benefit delays, in particular due to the introduction of the Universal Credit, are the single biggest cause of food poverty. Mass impoverishment more generally is the second.
This human catastrophe is the result of a continued pattern of policy choices.
If this matters to you, please do sign up and join the 99% Organisation.