We had no money but were never poor

First published in Letters by

THE campaign to Stamp Out Poverty campain is well-meaning but will come to naught. The gospels tell us that the poor will always be with us. And who are the poor? Everyone in this country is infinitely better off than the slum dwellers of Cairo or Calcutta, and people today are infinitely better off than previous generations.

I was born in 1951 in a terraced hovel. No bathroom. No heating. No hot water. No television. No car.

There were two bedrooms for seven people. My clothes were handed down from three older brothers. I did not consider myself poor. My parents had an even tougher childhood before the war. They did not consider themselves poor. Working class and keen to work to improve themselves, yes. But poor? Certainly not.

Matthew Laverack, Lord Mayor's Walk, York.

 

• I WHOLEHEARTEDLY applaud The Press for its Stamp Out Poverty campaign, and Janet Kitchen-Cooper (Letters, November 24) is correct to say that many households in York are having a struggle to make ends meet.

Describing international aid as a handout, however, is incorrect, and insulting to the recipient organisations. UK aid is now targeted where it is most needed and most effectively deployed.

The subject of the keynote address at a conference to be held in London on December 11 will be Transforming Britain's Approach to International Development: Delivering Results, Transparency and Value For Money. Delegates will have the chance to explore the Government's reforms to UK aid delivery. More of the money is to be given to organisations deemed to perform well. Further details can be found by emailing info@insidegovernment.co.uk

The most badly-off family in York is rich compared with millions in countries that are part of our increasingly interdependent world. The worst-housed person in York has access to clean water. A homeless person who collapses in a York street is only a passer-by's phone call away from an ambulance.

Poverty at home should be acknowledged and addressed, but common decency requires that a share of our national resources is used to give communities in developing countries a realistic chance to improve their lives and those of their children.

Mary Machen, Neville Street, York.

 

• NEW council tax benefit regulations put many councils into an invidious position where government funding has been reduced by more than 20 per cent for working-age claimants. On top of that, the bedroom tax will hit more than 25,000 under-occupying tenants in Yorkshire and Humber.

Since 2010, City of York Council has commendably reduced hardcore council tax arrears by ten per cent. However, it seems inevitable council tax and rent arrears will rise exponentially if the poorest are expected to find up to another £20 a week to cover these cuts. Or perhaps they will resort to payday lenders. Or be faced with the stress of bailiffs knocking on their door.

Despite raising an additional council tax liability of £0.7m from second homes, empty homes and voids, the council has not set this off against the proposed scheme. It will proceed with a full 30 per cent cut to council tax benefit. It further missed the opportunity of raising up to a further £530,000 from landlords by entirely abolishing the void exemption. Regrettably, I suspect the council's decision will be seen in time to be counter-productive in economic – collection rates will plummet, similar to a poll tax mark II – and social terms. All of that said, we should remember the overall responsibility for such brutal cuts levied against the poor lies with this coalition. Our council will partly mitigate it through implementation of a living wage as well as topping up its own localised social fund.

RKM Bridge, Holgate Road, York.

 

• CONGRATULATIONS to The Press on its latest worthy campaign, this time to oppose poverty.

I hope the people of York will combine to relieve the poverty and homelessness of the most vulnerable areas of society, who in the next 12 months will pay the biggest price for the recession.

With the benefit cuts becoming a reality in April, so too will the price of political policy.

For those among us agreeing with the Government line that “no one should be better off out of work than in employment”, can I point out the fact that the millions paid out in the much-quoted housing benefit only benefits the largely wealthy landlords who are making a lucrative living in the ever-growing market of private rentals. Statistics indicate that York private rental charges are second only to London.

I realise lack of investment in the building industry has led to the current situation, but does there always have to be individuals who are ready to capitalise on the misery of others?

We need to bring down private rental charges to an affordable level.

Liz Edge, Parkside Close, York.

Comments (16)

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12:41pm Wed 28 Nov 12

Fat Harry says...

That's an impressive lunge for the line from Mr Laverack in the race for Smug G*t of the Year.
That's an impressive lunge for the line from Mr Laverack in the race for Smug G*t of the Year. Fat Harry
  • Score: 0

1:09pm Wed 28 Nov 12

ColdAsChristmas says...

No need for that Harry, stick to the plot.
Like most places, the populations of the third world are exploding. There will not be enough aid to send at some point.
Here in the UK we can only produce 65% of the food we consume. Yesterday we were told that we need to develop another third of land to build more houses! That means more people and even less land.
If this is the situation the world over then the EU set aside needs to go and condom production needs to go into overdrive, if we can afford the energy?
No need for that Harry, stick to the plot. Like most places, the populations of the third world are exploding. There will not be enough aid to send at some point. Here in the UK we can only produce 65% of the food we consume. Yesterday we were told that we need to develop another third of land to build more houses! That means more people and even less land. If this is the situation the world over then the EU set aside needs to go and condom production needs to go into overdrive, if we can afford the energy? ColdAsChristmas
  • Score: 0

1:12pm Wed 28 Nov 12

Buzz Light-year says...

"infinitely" better off.
Really?
"infinitely" better off. Really? Buzz Light-year
  • Score: 0

2:22pm Wed 28 Nov 12

alfie says...

I agree Matthew Laverack,
Thing is with a lot of people today everyone thinks its there god given right to own a flatscreen tv, mobile phone, designer trainers etc we should be gratefull for what we do have and thats a roof over your head (not necessary your own) and food to eat.
I agree Matthew Laverack, Thing is with a lot of people today everyone thinks its there god given right to own a flatscreen tv, mobile phone, designer trainers etc we should be gratefull for what we do have and thats a roof over your head (not necessary your own) and food to eat. alfie
  • Score: 0

2:26pm Wed 28 Nov 12

TheTruthHurts says...

Buzz Light-year wrote:
"infinitely" better off.
Really?
Its a figure of speech Buzz,

Instead of micro combing his letter to find something correctable that makes you feel like a big man do you agree or not.
[quote][p][bold]Buzz Light-year[/bold] wrote: "infinitely" better off. Really?[/p][/quote]Its a figure of speech Buzz, Instead of micro combing his letter to find something correctable that makes you feel like a big man do you agree or not. TheTruthHurts
  • Score: 0

4:11pm Wed 28 Nov 12

Buzz Light-year says...

TheTruthHurts wrote:
Buzz Light-year wrote: "infinitely" better off. Really?
Its a figure of speech Buzz, Instead of micro combing his letter to find something correctable that makes you feel like a big man do you agree or not.
No it isn't it's poor use of language.

Funny you being the expert on figures of speech all of a sudden.
[quote][p][bold]TheTruthHurts[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Buzz Light-year[/bold] wrote: "infinitely" better off. Really?[/p][/quote]Its a figure of speech Buzz, Instead of micro combing his letter to find something correctable that makes you feel like a big man do you agree or not.[/p][/quote]No it isn't it's poor use of language. Funny you being the expert on figures of speech all of a sudden. Buzz Light-year
  • Score: 0

4:39pm Wed 28 Nov 12

CHISSY1 says...

Buzz Light-year wrote:
TheTruthHurts wrote:
Buzz Light-year wrote: "infinitely" better off. Really?
Its a figure of speech Buzz, Instead of micro combing his letter to find something correctable that makes you feel like a big man do you agree or not.
No it isn't it's poor use of language.

Funny you being the expert on figures of speech all of a sudden.
"Definition of a expert is as follows.
Ex is a has been and a spert is a drip under pressure.No doubt that will have to be explained to some of the lesser no humored posters"
[quote][p][bold]Buzz Light-year[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]TheTruthHurts[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Buzz Light-year[/bold] wrote: "infinitely" better off. Really?[/p][/quote]Its a figure of speech Buzz, Instead of micro combing his letter to find something correctable that makes you feel like a big man do you agree or not.[/p][/quote]No it isn't it's poor use of language. Funny you being the expert on figures of speech all of a sudden.[/p][/quote]"Definition of a expert is as follows. Ex is a has been and a spert is a drip under pressure.No doubt that will have to be explained to some of the lesser no humored posters" CHISSY1
  • Score: 0

4:41pm Wed 28 Nov 12

TheTruthHurts says...

Buzz Light-year wrote:
TheTruthHurts wrote:
Buzz Light-year wrote: "infinitely" better off. Really?
Its a figure of speech Buzz, Instead of micro combing his letter to find something correctable that makes you feel like a big man do you agree or not.
No it isn't it's poor use of language.

Funny you being the expert on figures of speech all of a sudden.
Nah i'm no expert on figures of speech.

Unlike yourself who seems to be both an expert on everything and yet nothing at the same time :-)
[quote][p][bold]Buzz Light-year[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]TheTruthHurts[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Buzz Light-year[/bold] wrote: "infinitely" better off. Really?[/p][/quote]Its a figure of speech Buzz, Instead of micro combing his letter to find something correctable that makes you feel like a big man do you agree or not.[/p][/quote]No it isn't it's poor use of language. Funny you being the expert on figures of speech all of a sudden.[/p][/quote]Nah i'm no expert on figures of speech. Unlike yourself who seems to be both an expert on everything and yet nothing at the same time :-) TheTruthHurts
  • Score: 0

5:27pm Wed 28 Nov 12

meme says...

No one wants to see anyone v poor but as laverack says its a matter of degrees.
You cannot expect to have something if for whatever reason you cannot afford it. if its given to you by means of state aid then unfortunatly it will be probably not as good as if you could buy/rent it yourself but at lease we nearly all have a roof/food/hot water More than the vast majority
BUT I have to take issue with L Edge comments.... What rubbish. This is a market economy and private landlord have bought the properties and are entitled to a market return unless Ms Edge you believe all property is theft? Possibly you do but we are not in a Totalitarian state yet although the way its run in York we are getting there
If there were no private landlords the market would be even worse as we would have fewer homes. Do you ms edge rent by any chance and feel left out of society
Its not everyones given right to buy. Some will always rent; that's a fact of life and private landlords provide that opportunity
No one wants to see anyone v poor but as laverack says its a matter of degrees. You cannot expect to have something if for whatever reason you cannot afford it. if its given to you by means of state aid then unfortunatly it will be probably not as good as if you could buy/rent it yourself but at lease we nearly all have a roof/food/hot water More than the vast majority BUT I have to take issue with L Edge [former councillor?] comments.... What rubbish. This is a market economy and private landlord have bought the properties and are entitled to a market return unless Ms Edge you believe all property is theft? Possibly you do but we are not in a Totalitarian state yet although the way its run in York we are getting there If there were no private landlords the market would be even worse as we would have fewer homes. Do you ms edge rent by any chance and feel left out of society Its not everyones given right to buy. Some will always rent; that's a fact of life and private landlords provide that opportunity meme
  • Score: 0

8:13pm Wed 28 Nov 12

ColdAsChristmas says...

Less of the Ms please meme.
Less of the Ms please meme. ColdAsChristmas
  • Score: 0

8:35pm Wed 28 Nov 12

capt spaulding says...

Buzz Light-year wrote:
TheTruthHurts wrote:
Buzz Light-year wrote: "infinitely" better off. Really?
Its a figure of speech Buzz, Instead of micro combing his letter to find something correctable that makes you feel like a big man do you agree or not.
No it isn't it's poor use of language.

Funny you being the expert on figures of speech all of a sudden.
I get it, you saw your effigy hanging on the wall of the Architect Shop. So its sour grapes time Eh.
[quote][p][bold]Buzz Light-year[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]TheTruthHurts[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Buzz Light-year[/bold] wrote: "infinitely" better off. Really?[/p][/quote]Its a figure of speech Buzz, Instead of micro combing his letter to find something correctable that makes you feel like a big man do you agree or not.[/p][/quote]No it isn't it's poor use of language. Funny you being the expert on figures of speech all of a sudden.[/p][/quote]I get it, you saw your effigy hanging on the wall of the Architect Shop. So its sour grapes time Eh. capt spaulding
  • Score: 0

10:56pm Wed 28 Nov 12

Matt_S says...

meme wrote:
No one wants to see anyone v poor but as laverack says its a matter of degrees.
You cannot expect to have something if for whatever reason you cannot afford it. if its given to you by means of state aid then unfortunatly it will be probably not as good as if you could buy/rent it yourself but at lease we nearly all have a roof/food/hot water More than the vast majority
BUT I have to take issue with L Edge comments.... What rubbish. This is a market economy and private landlord have bought the properties and are entitled to a market return unless Ms Edge you believe all property is theft? Possibly you do but we are not in a Totalitarian state yet although the way its run in York we are getting there
If there were no private landlords the market would be even worse as we would have fewer homes. Do you ms edge rent by any chance and feel left out of society
Its not everyones given right to buy. Some will always rent; that's a fact of life and private landlords provide that opportunity
Many landlords don't build new homes. In which case, if such landlords didn't exist, there would in fact be more homes available. If private landlords *build* or renovate deteriorating buildings so they become useable, then great. If they simply *buy* homes, then they are reducing the stock available to others, and pushing up prices.

Build-to-let should be encouraged. Buy-to-let should be opposed.
[quote][p][bold]meme[/bold] wrote: No one wants to see anyone v poor but as laverack says its a matter of degrees. You cannot expect to have something if for whatever reason you cannot afford it. if its given to you by means of state aid then unfortunatly it will be probably not as good as if you could buy/rent it yourself but at lease we nearly all have a roof/food/hot water More than the vast majority BUT I have to take issue with L Edge [former councillor?] comments.... What rubbish. This is a market economy and private landlord have bought the properties and are entitled to a market return unless Ms Edge you believe all property is theft? Possibly you do but we are not in a Totalitarian state yet although the way its run in York we are getting there If there were no private landlords the market would be even worse as we would have fewer homes. Do you ms edge rent by any chance and feel left out of society Its not everyones given right to buy. Some will always rent; that's a fact of life and private landlords provide that opportunity[/p][/quote]Many landlords don't build new homes. In which case, if such landlords didn't exist, there would in fact be more homes available. If private landlords *build* or renovate deteriorating buildings so they become useable, then great. If they simply *buy* homes, then they are reducing the stock available to others, and pushing up prices. Build-to-let should be encouraged. Buy-to-let should be opposed. Matt_S
  • Score: 0

11:35pm Wed 28 Nov 12

Buzz Light-year says...

My tribute wasn't just on the wall it was up on top and nailed to 4x2 with a correctly spelled and case-sensitive laminated nameplate.
I had the full ghoul.

Effigy is a strange word to use, not how I would describe it. Where did that come from?
My tribute wasn't just on the wall it was up on top and nailed to 4x2 with a correctly spelled and case-sensitive laminated nameplate. I had the full ghoul. Effigy is a strange word to use, not how I would describe it. Where did that come from? Buzz Light-year
  • Score: 0

1:03am Thu 29 Nov 12

ColdAsChristmas says...

Matt, I hope it is the many brown field vacant sites you have in mind for these new build to let houses?
The green belt appears to be reserved for giant wind turbines and cyberspace reserved for all that imaginary food we can no longer grow!
Matt, I hope it is the many brown field vacant sites you have in mind for these new build to let houses? The green belt appears to be reserved for giant wind turbines and cyberspace reserved for all that imaginary food we can no longer grow! ColdAsChristmas
  • Score: 0

6:20am Thu 29 Nov 12

capt spaulding says...

Buzz Light-year wrote:
My tribute wasn't just on the wall it was up on top and nailed to 4x2 with a correctly spelled and case-sensitive laminated nameplate.
I had the full ghoul.

Effigy is a strange word to use, not how I would describe it. Where did that come from?
Pride of place then. Outrageous favoritismn I call that.
[quote][p][bold]Buzz Light-year[/bold] wrote: My tribute wasn't just on the wall it was up on top and nailed to 4x2 with a correctly spelled and case-sensitive laminated nameplate. I had the full ghoul. Effigy is a strange word to use, not how I would describe it. Where did that come from?[/p][/quote]Pride of place then. Outrageous favoritismn I call that. capt spaulding
  • Score: 0

11:41am Thu 29 Nov 12

meme says...

Less of the Ms please meme

Just being politically correct as I have no idea if you are a Mrs /Ms or whatever else people are now expected to address ladies as!
Less of the Ms please meme Just being politically correct as I have no idea if you are a Mrs /Ms or whatever else people are now expected to address ladies as! meme
  • Score: 0

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