- Created: Thursday, 01 June 2017 14:45
- Written by FRFI
This year’s Sunday Times Rich List revealed that there are now 134 billionaires in Britain. Fifteen years ago, there were only 21. At the same time – as capitalism sinks into its deepest crisis in a century – the mass of the working class is being forced into insecure, low-paid employment in the sixth richest country in the world.
● In-work poverty has reached a record high at 7.4 million workers, a million more than in 2010.
● 905,000 people were on zero-hours contracts in December 2016, a 13% year-on-year rise.
● 4.8 million people are now considered self-employed and the majority of them are in precarious work.
● 1.56 million people are unemployed.
● The GMB union says that the average real value of earnings for full time workers fell by 12.6% between April 2007 and April 2016. The Bank of England concedes that the 2010s is the first ‘lost decade’ in Britain since the 1860s.
● The IFS says average earnings will be no higher in 2022 than they were in 2007.
● Working age benefits have been frozen until 2020.
● 432,000 social housing tenants pay an average of £15.20 a week through the Bedroom Tax. Two thirds of them have a disability.
● Following its reduction at the end of 2016, nearly 70,000 families with 200,000 children are now hit by the Overall Benefit Cap and face homelessness.
● Britain has been the first country to face an inquiry by a United Nations committee for cuts that constitute ‘grave violations’ of disabled people’s rights.
● 13.5 million people live in poverty in the UK, up from 12 million a decade ago.
● Half of poor people in Britain are either themselves disabled or live with a disabled person.
Conditions and hours
● Strikes have been made unlawful unless 50% of those asked to strike vote in the ballot; in key public sectors, at least 40% have to support a strike for it to be lawful.
● The average working week in the UK is now 43.6 hours compared to the European average of 40.3. Almost four million employees are working at least 48 hours a week, 350,000 more than a decade ago.
● The number of private renters in poverty has doubled in the past decade to 4.3 million.
● The number of households accepted as homeless rose from 40,000 in 2010 to 60,000 in 2016. Evictions are at a record high.
● Rough sleeping has risen for six consecutive years, up by 16% in 2016.
● 3.7 million children live in poverty.
● Three million children face hunger over the school holidays.
● The number of hospital bed days taken up by patients being treated for malnutrition has almost trebled in the past 10 years.
● While mortality rates improved by more than 2% a year between 2000 and 2011, annual improvements have since been close to zero.
Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! 257 May/June 2017 Election Special