The Pathways to Poverty

Adapted. For the full article: http://www.centreforsocialjustice.org.uk/policy/pathways-to-poverty

1. Personal Responsibility – Addiction

Britain has experienced an explosion in addiction rates, with millions of the adult population having an alcohol use disorder. There are also huge number of addicts who have been parked on methadone with little opportunity to achieve a drug free life.

Addiction to drugs and alcohol devastates lives and damages communities.  Such abuse remains a shocking feature of life in many disadvantaged neighbourhoods and it entrenches poverty.

2. Serious Personal Debt

Increasing numbers of people are having debt problems. The many indicators which provide evidence on the scale of the problem and the contrast of UK indebtedness with that of Europe, all confirm the conclusion that ‘personal debt is the most serious social problem facing the UK today’.

3. Economic Dependency and Worklessness (Reliance on Welfare benefits)

Our often counter-productive welfare system has trapped people in poverty by failing to reward work or support those seeking to enter the workforce.

Work is the most effective route out of poverty, but for far too long, worklessness and dependency have been passed from generation to generation like a family business in some of our poorest communities. For many years – even during the recent period of record economic growth and huge increases in welfare-related public expenditure – a group of approximately four million people have been detached from the workforce.

4. Education (or Lack Thereof)

Education should be the gateway to social mobility and a core tool in breaking the poverty cycle. Where there are difficulties with family life, where there is a lack of aspiration in the community and where life skills are absent, our schools should help children and young people plot a new course.  Yet for too many primary and secondary school pupils in the most deprived areas, our education system continues to fall far short of this.

** Note: This article refers to the UK. Consider: do the impoverished in other countries even have opportunities to enter the education system?

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