This isn't a rerun of 1930s poverty


Just a small reminder that whatever you see being shouted over in The Guardian and other points left this really is not a rerun of the levels of poverty seen in the 1930s. It's possible that it's a rerun of the inequality of those days (although we would vehemently disagree with that), it's possible, what with Syriza and the Front National, that certain aspects of politics are like they were in the 30s. But it really isn't true that we're anywhere near anything like 1930s levels of poverty. Here's what Dr. Barnardo's calls living in poverty these days:

Families living in poverty can have as little as £12 per day per person to buy everything they need such as food, heating, toys, clothes, electricity and transport.

In 1930s Britain the Public Assistance Committees would provide 22 shillings a week for a family of five, two adults and three children (the PACs being the safety net after eligibility for the dole was exhausted) . That is £1.50 a day per person. Yes, that's after inflation, that is £1.50 per person per day in today's money and at today's prices.

Around here we do not wish either living standard upon anyone: not that £1.50 a day which is some twice the amount that the absolutely poor, the hundreds of millions of them around the globe, still live on. Nor that £12 a day of the poor in our own society. That's why we work to improve economic policy so that the poor do get rich. Through the only economic system that has managed it on a large scale for any length of time, free market capitalism.

But the important point we want to make here is that those two numbers are obviously very different indeed. Whatever else is happening in the UK of today it just is not true that we are getting anywhere near either the living standards or the poverty of 1930s Britain. To claim so is to be entirely ignorant of the facts.