[Image: Getty Images.]

[Image: Getty Images.]

The only reason we have poverty in an advanced, taxing and redistributing, society like the UK is because somebody profits from it.

And, in a society like the UK, it is easy to see who that is: The very rich.

Yes, it might cost taxpayers £78 billion, but there are far more taxpayers on middle or lower incomes than the very highest, so the very highest earners are probably judging that the profit they make from keeping working people in poverty is more than the amount they spend on the misery that results.

It’s hard to tell, with the cost being averaged out between us all. Perhaps it would have been better for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation to have weighted the cost according to the number of people in particular tax bands.

All This Writer knows is that it is easier for a person earning millions every year to pay a few thousand pounds to salve their conscience than it is for people earning £12,000 a year to pay a few hundred on public services when they need the money themselves.

The fact that poor people have to pay reinforces a false message that helps the rich – that taxes are harmful.

It seems to This Writer that the people who perpetuate this system get off very lightly. Perhaps they would think again if there was some accountability.

It is possible to work out very complicated details about the way our society works nowadays. Why shouldn’t it be possible to find out who makes the most from paying the least?

Then it would be possible to impose some kind of penalty system.

Why should the taxpayer fund unnecessary poverty? Let those who inflict it on the rest of us foot the bill.

The effects of poverty in the UK cost the average taxpayer £1,200 a year, and the UK £78bn in total, a report says.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation looked at how poverty – living on incomes below 60% of the median – affected different government services.

The NHS bore the brunt of the costs, it said, as those in poverty were “more likely” to suffer ill health.

The government said employment was key to beating poverty, adding that “we’ve made good progress”.

The foundation, which funds research into social policy, said its total bill for poverty did not include money spent on benefits.

It said the research, conducted by Heriot-Watt and Loughborough universities, was the first to look at how much poverty across all age groups costs different government departments.

The report outlined the following key costs:
◾£29bn on treating health conditions associated with poverty
◾£10bn on schools providing initiatives such as free school meals and pupil premium for poorer students
◾£9bn on the police and criminal justice systems dealing with the higher incidence of crime in more deprived areas
◾£7.5bn on children’s services and early years provision, such as free childcare for deprived two-year-olds
◾£4.6bn on adult social care
◾£4bn on housing

Source: Poverty costs UK £78bn a year, Joseph Rowntree Foundation says – BBC News


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