Friday, 9 March 2012

Are we back to 1936?

The program on radio 4 this morning discussed George Orwell's book The Road To Wigan Pier; published in 1936 it dealt with poverty in the 1930s. There were a number of interesting comments from the guests, including that by 1950 it was acknowledged that the kind of poverty Orwell described had been eradicated, presumably by the welfare state that had been established post-war.

However the most interesting comment of the program followed shortly - that as a country, there were people living in poverty just as bad as in 1936 again. The guest cited an example of someone they'd met personally, living in a hostel on £2 a day because they had missed a job seekers interview and had their benefit stopped. The woman in question disappeared from the hostel shortly afterward, having been offered accommodation with comfy beds, warm showers and food by a couple of men. He was able to list other examples of similar desperation and 'awfulness'.

Pause for thought.

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