‘We cannot deny very real poverty lives here’

‘We cannot deny very real poverty lives here’

Julia Unwin, chief executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Housing Trust

Joseph Rowntree, above, built the village of New Earswick as a green community, providing decent housing for working people

New Earswick

The new village will provide York with 500 new family homes

First published in Stamp Out Poverty news
Last updated

Julia Unwin, chief executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Housing Trust, delivers her view on poverty from The Press offices in York where she spent the day as guest editor.

It gives me great pleasure – and a huge sense of responsibility – to be guest editor for the day.

One of the great obligations of leading the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Housing Trust is to continue the legacy of our founder.

Here in York, Joseph Rowntree built the village of New Earswick as a green community, providing decent housing for working people.

It has provided the template for modern developments for decades. And we try to emulate its success today with Derwenthorpe, which will provide the city with 500 new family homes. As Joseph Rowntree did then, we are building homes which will be fit for the future – affordable, quality in design and suited to the needs of the people of York.

Joseph Rowntree, with his son Seebohm, recorded the numbers of people in poverty, and shocked the nation with those findings. With a commitment to paying people an adequate income, an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work, Seebohm Rowntree calculated what his staff would need for an adequate standard of living.

Today, our Minimum Income Standard updates that work annually. It is used to calculate the Living Wage, which increasing numbers of employers in York are paying. This work is so important, because our research shows that there are a growing number of people who are working, but remain in poverty.

We have an unbroken line to that great legacy, and share with many others in this city a desire and a determination to change conditions for people. What we do continues to have influence, importance and prominence now, with the same purpose of uncovering the causes of social evil, and creating a better society for future generations.

As our society changes and grows older, we have to prepare and plan for that challenge. So our involvement – through the Dementia Without Walls programme – in York’s ambition to become a dementia-friendly city is another instance of where our home city is leading the way.

This newspaper’s Stamp Out Poverty campaign was spurred by films commissioned by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, which showed the reality of poverty. The films were produced with the aim of shining a light on the reality of poverty across the UK. And they showed the reality exists on our doorstep.

For all its beauty and apparent prosperity, there are pockets of poverty, deprivation and destitution, which are a hidden scar on this city.

In some areas of the city, a quarter of children live below the breadline. We cannot deny very real poverty lives here. Nor can we let past successes to allow complacency to creep in.

As you’ll see in today’s paper, councillors approved a wide-ranging package of measures to help the city meet the ambitious aim of becoming poverty free.

Seeing councillors approve measures which will help alleviate poverty is a reminder of the beacon York is for social change. Whether it’s leading the way as a Living Wage City or building communities which stand the test of time, York has a proud history in leading the way.

We still have much to do. But it is on days like today that York can be proud of its heritage and unbreakable habit of creating a city and society that is fairer and just for all.

Catalysed by this newspaper – another institution campaigning for social change – it’s an immense source of pride for me, and one for The Press readers too.

Comments (8)

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12:02pm Wed 17 Jul 13

meme says...

Sorry to disagree but the market homes at Derwenthorpe are NOT affordable.. They are V expensive hence slow sales rate
No market developer could have made this work as they would have gone bust..Please explain how a proit organisation could have delivered this scheme please
Its grwat to mak ethese headline statements and have a target to aim for but their will always be poverty here and elsewhere and poverty is relative. I dont see people starving or completly unsupported in York I may be wrong and i am sure there are many who are finding life very tough financially but no one is allowed to die through poverty
I would love to think all these statement meant something but the way to stop poverty is to tackle its foundations.IE get people working through a vibrant economy and York seems incapable of doing this whilst it meddles in things it does not understand and wastes huge sums of money on unwanted stupid schemes like 20 MPH limits/Lendal Bridge /Clifton Green road closures/Arts barges etc which could be better spent encouraging employment
Sorry to disagree but the market homes at Derwenthorpe are NOT affordable.. They are V expensive hence slow sales rate No market developer could have made this work as they would have gone bust..Please explain how a proit organisation could have delivered this scheme please Its grwat to mak ethese headline statements and have a target to aim for but their will always be poverty here and elsewhere and poverty is relative. I dont see people starving or completly unsupported in York I may be wrong and i am sure there are many who are finding life very tough financially [myself included but again that's relative] but no one is allowed to die through poverty I would love to think all these statement meant something but the way to stop poverty is to tackle its foundations.IE get people working through a vibrant economy and York seems incapable of doing this whilst it meddles in things it does not understand and wastes huge sums of money on unwanted stupid schemes like 20 MPH limits/Lendal Bridge [ I am told this will cost over £1 million including traffic light replacements etc]/Clifton Green road closures/Arts barges etc which could be better spent encouraging employment meme
  • Score: 0

12:57pm Wed 17 Jul 13

Stafford_Staff says...

meme wrote:
Sorry to disagree but the market homes at Derwenthorpe are NOT affordable.. They are V expensive hence slow sales rate No market developer could have made this work as they would have gone bust..Please explain how a proit organisation could have delivered this scheme please Its grwat to mak ethese headline statements and have a target to aim for but their will always be poverty here and elsewhere and poverty is relative. I dont see people starving or completly unsupported in York I may be wrong and i am sure there are many who are finding life very tough financially but no one is allowed to die through poverty I would love to think all these statement meant something but the way to stop poverty is to tackle its foundations.IE get people working through a vibrant economy and York seems incapable of doing this whilst it meddles in things it does not understand and wastes huge sums of money on unwanted stupid schemes like 20 MPH limits/Lendal Bridge /Clifton Green road closures/Arts barges etc which could be better spent encouraging employment
http://www.yorkpress
.co.uk/news/10060321
.Mum___s_grief_at_tr
agic_death_of_baby_T
elan/

No one is allowed to die through poverty? The cause is debatable, but no one should be living in conditions like that.

Just go the York Press job site and you'll find Jobs paying minimum wage by companies who can afford to pay a living wage. It's near impossible to live on minimum wage and support a family meeting the costs living without being heavily subsidised through housing benefit & tax credits, even then it's extremely tough. Rowntree was right " honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work" should meet the cost of living.
[quote][p][bold]meme[/bold] wrote: Sorry to disagree but the market homes at Derwenthorpe are NOT affordable.. They are V expensive hence slow sales rate No market developer could have made this work as they would have gone bust..Please explain how a proit organisation could have delivered this scheme please Its grwat to mak ethese headline statements and have a target to aim for but their will always be poverty here and elsewhere and poverty is relative. I dont see people starving or completly unsupported in York I may be wrong and i am sure there are many who are finding life very tough financially [myself included but again that's relative] but no one is allowed to die through poverty I would love to think all these statement meant something but the way to stop poverty is to tackle its foundations.IE get people working through a vibrant economy and York seems incapable of doing this whilst it meddles in things it does not understand and wastes huge sums of money on unwanted stupid schemes like 20 MPH limits/Lendal Bridge [ I am told this will cost over £1 million including traffic light replacements etc]/Clifton Green road closures/Arts barges etc which could be better spent encouraging employment[/p][/quote]http://www.yorkpress .co.uk/news/10060321 .Mum___s_grief_at_tr agic_death_of_baby_T elan/ No one is allowed to die through poverty? The cause is debatable, but no one should be living in conditions like that. Just go the York Press job site and you'll find Jobs paying minimum wage by companies who can afford to pay a living wage. It's near impossible to live on minimum wage and support a family meeting the costs living without being heavily subsidised through housing benefit & tax credits, even then it's extremely tough. Rowntree was right " honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work" should meet the cost of living. Stafford_Staff
  • Score: 0

3:36pm Wed 17 Jul 13

meme says...

I did not say people were not struggling... of course they are.,.. that's why there is a minimum wage...ansd support to make sure you are not in SEVERE poverty. Its tough to live well I accept but I bet you have a car/tv/stereo/mobile phone etc Probably a holiday
As I said all poverty is relative.Go to India to see real poverty.
Much as I would like to see everyone well off spouting all this hot air and stating facts by JRHT that are alarmist and misleading does no good. It also make sit sound like things are going to change immediatly. This is classic politicians bull Get us to work earning a living and we will all be better off.
Finally at the risk of sounding harsh....If the minimum wage does not support a family why have you had one?
I did not say people were not struggling... of course they are.,.. that's why there is a minimum wage...ansd support to make sure you are not in SEVERE poverty. Its tough to live well I accept but I bet you have a car/tv/stereo/mobile phone etc Probably a holiday [not a luxury one but one all the same] As I said all poverty is relative.Go to India to see real poverty. Much as I would like to see everyone well off spouting all this hot air and stating facts by JRHT that are alarmist and misleading does no good. It also make sit sound like things are going to change immediatly. This is classic politicians bull Get us to work earning a living and we will all be better off. Finally at the risk of sounding harsh....If the minimum wage does not support a family why have you had one? meme
  • Score: 0

5:53pm Wed 17 Jul 13

I could go on says...

meme wrote:
I did not say people were not struggling... of course they are.,.. that's why there is a minimum wage...ansd support to make sure you are not in SEVERE poverty. Its tough to live well I accept but I bet you have a car/tv/stereo/mobile phone etc Probably a holiday As I said all poverty is relative.Go to India to see real poverty. Much as I would like to see everyone well off spouting all this hot air and stating facts by JRHT that are alarmist and misleading does no good. It also make sit sound like things are going to change immediatly. This is classic politicians bull Get us to work earning a living and we will all be better off. Finally at the risk of sounding harsh....If the minimum wage does not support a family why have you had one?
Yes, you do sound harsh and rather narrow minded. There is a difference between having an existence and being able to lead a meaningful life. A mobile phone and a computer may seem like luxury items to you, but the ability to access certain services and to benefit from say cheap utility tariffs is too often resticted to those who do posses these items.

You seem dismissive, amongst other things, of the arts barge as though anyone with an artistic talent shouldn't possibly be allowed to earn a living from it or that such an enterpise could in any way be used to network or to show case your work and to generate employment and business opportunities.

Finally, you seem to take no account of those people who may have lost their jobs or where a relationship has broken-down and where supporting a family has become a struggle rather than it having always being a struggle.
[quote][p][bold]meme[/bold] wrote: I did not say people were not struggling... of course they are.,.. that's why there is a minimum wage...ansd support to make sure you are not in SEVERE poverty. Its tough to live well I accept but I bet you have a car/tv/stereo/mobile phone etc Probably a holiday [not a luxury one but one all the same] As I said all poverty is relative.Go to India to see real poverty. Much as I would like to see everyone well off spouting all this hot air and stating facts by JRHT that are alarmist and misleading does no good. It also make sit sound like things are going to change immediatly. This is classic politicians bull Get us to work earning a living and we will all be better off. Finally at the risk of sounding harsh....If the minimum wage does not support a family why have you had one?[/p][/quote]Yes, you do sound harsh and rather narrow minded. There is a difference between having an existence and being able to lead a meaningful life. A mobile phone and a computer may seem like luxury items to you, but the ability to access certain services and to benefit from say cheap utility tariffs is too often resticted to those who do posses these items. You seem dismissive, amongst other things, of the arts barge as though anyone with an artistic talent shouldn't possibly be allowed to earn a living from it or that such an enterpise could in any way be used to network or to show case your work and to generate employment and business opportunities. Finally, you seem to take no account of those people who may have lost their jobs or where a relationship has broken-down and where supporting a family has become a struggle rather than it having always being a struggle. I could go on
  • Score: 0

8:36pm Wed 17 Jul 13

eeoodares says...

JRHT is not exactly an impartial independent organisation! If they said everything was fine and dandy, what would be their point in existence?
JRHT is not exactly an impartial independent organisation! If they said everything was fine and dandy, what would be their point in existence? eeoodares
  • Score: 0

10:13pm Wed 17 Jul 13

goatman says...

Please can somebody define the difference between 'Poverty' and 'Relative Poverty'?
Please can somebody define the difference between 'Poverty' and 'Relative Poverty'? goatman
  • Score: 0

5:06pm Thu 18 Jul 13

meme says...

I could go on....My repsonse
No of course I realise that there are people who dont have what the majority have but a lack of computer/mobile phone/tv/car is not a lack of a necessity. Great to have them but not crucial
Things like Arts barges are not necessities and when times are tough money needs to be diverted to necessities ie making sure people have a roof over their head and are fed and clothed. I like arts but only when I can afford to go and CoYC cannot afford today to subsidse one now.
I just think we define poverty as not having luxuries...Possibly that's how it should be defined... its just I dont agree and feel that if luxuries were not defined as necessities then we may all end up better off
I could go on....My repsonse No of course I realise that there are people who dont have what the majority have but a lack of computer/mobile phone/tv/car is not a lack of a necessity. Great to have them but not crucial Things like Arts barges are not necessities and when times are tough money needs to be diverted to necessities ie making sure people have a roof over their head and are fed and clothed. I like arts but only when I can afford to go and CoYC cannot afford today to subsidse one now. I just think we define poverty as not having luxuries...Possibly that's how it should be defined... its just I dont agree and feel that if luxuries were not defined as necessities then we may all end up better off meme
  • Score: 0

2:04pm Fri 19 Jul 13

YSTClinguist says...

@Meme, you need a reality check, seriously! All that seems to come out of your mouth is, "I'm alright, jack." You're operating on illusionary ideas right out of a BDSM manual.
@Meme, you need a reality check, seriously! All that seems to come out of your mouth is, "I'm alright, jack." You're operating on illusionary ideas right out of a BDSM manual. YSTClinguist
  • Score: 0

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