15.2 million in the UK now live in poverty

Population_at-risk-of-poverty_or_social_exclusion,_2009–14_YB16

The tragic murder of Labor MP Jo Cox was completely inexcusable and the call for the referendum to be cancelled or postponed grows. That the perpetrator allegedly yelled “Britain first” has the hallmarks of a fear of unfettered immigration affecting citizens. It doesn’t change the fact that young children will be traumatized at becoming motherless and a husband becoming a widow. It is horrible beyond words. Her death shouldn’t be used for political point scoring. If the referendum is postponed or cancelled the whirlwind of the blame game will supersede the original reasons for conducting it in the first place.

Growing poverty and rising immigration  rarely make good bedfellows. According to the EU’s own Eurostat, the % of the population in the UK living in poverty has risen from 22% to almost a quarter of the total or nearly 1.8 million extra people. 15.2mn Brits are below the poverty line or 2/3rds of the Aussie population. Looking into the IFS data the fall in median ‘real’ income growth supports this, especially when housing costs are included. Getting by is just plain getting harder. While a Brexit would exacerbate economic woes in the short term perhaps this exposes the underbelly of citizens fearing for the flood of cheap labour undermining their already oppressed living conditions.

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We should not overlook the socio-economic impacts of  a growing number of poor in Britain. It is more than likely the poor are worst positioned to understand the real economic fallout of Brexit yet strangely the ones best positioned to feel the effects of what life is still like in real poverty under the current EU (rightly or wrongly). When you realize that 47% of Americans can’t raise $400 in an emergency without selling something you understand how such poverty fuels the fire of anti-establishment candidates like Trump and Sanders. We have a bigger problem around the globe than what we’re being told.

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