Connect with us

Breaking News

COVID-19: Poorest families hit hardest by pandemic and will find it hardest to recover – report | UK News

Published

on

Abdi Hassan says people who were living pay cheque to pay cheque are now living day to day

The government must make tackling poverty a priority in 2021 or risk being defined by a “record of worsening hardship”, according to a new report from a leading anti-poverty charity. 

The “state of the nation” report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation found that people who were already trapped in poverty were “particularly vulnerable” to the financial shock caused by the pandemic and that 40% of workers on the minimum wage face a “high or very high risk” of losing their jobs.

It also found that workers from black and minority ethnic backgrounds are 14% more likely to be made unemployed and 13% less likely to be furloughed, while 45% of disabled people who were in employment at the start of the year reported no earnings by the middle of 2020.

“The fact is that people are literally living day to day,” said community worker Abdi Hassan, who helps run a food bank in Hackney, east London.

“It used to be pay cheque to pay cheque, it’s day-to-day survival now. It’s people who are working professionals now contacting us for food bank support. What we are seeing more and more is a massive divide.

“People who are wealthy are doing better but people who are struggling on the bottom line are doing the worst.”

Image:
Abdi Hassan says people who were living pay cheque to pay cheque are now living day to day

The report found that 35% of private renters and 42% of social renters were also working in the sectors hit hardest by COVID-19, with one in three furloughed.

“It is a damning indictment of our society that those with the least have suffered the most before the pandemic and are now being hit hardest once again,” said Helen Barnard, director of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

“The government must now make the right decisions to avoid another damaging decade.

“It’s unacceptable that certain groups are bearing the brunt of the economic impact of COVID-19, and are now reeling from the latest blow of this third lockdown.

“We all believe in justice and in looking out for each other, and we support policies that reflect these values. Ministers were right to increase Universal Credit by £20 a week and they must now make it permanent and extend this support to legacy benefits.

“2020 was an extraordinarily difficult year for all of us and has shifted the dial in terms of what support is possible. Learning from this, there are serious injustices we cannot put off tackling any longer. We must not rest until everyone, regardless of their background, is able to achieve a decent life.”

The report found that 30% of private renters were worried about paying their rent through the winter. According to polling in October across both the private and social rented sectors, 700,000 were already in arrears with their rent in the autumn.

Wheelchair user Piers Wilkinson is one of those workers who lost their job during the summer and has racked up debts as a result.

“I started off 2020 employed full time and I was earning an above average salary,” he told Sky News.

“It didn’t take a genius to work out that companies were going to shrink as a result of the pandemic. Unfortunately after almost hundreds of applications and about 20 interviews, and getting advice from colleagues and friends, I still wasn’t finding anything.

“By the end of November, and still now, I’m £2,500 in debt having used my overdraft to pay rent. As a disabled person who was shielding it was better to go into an overdraft than not have anywhere to live.”

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Breaking News

COVID-19: UK to look ‘very carefully’ at vaccine dosing after concerns raised over level of protection | Politics News

Published

on

A member of medical staff prepares a Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at The Vaccination Hub at Croydon University Hospital, south London, on the first day of the largest immunisation programme in the UK's history. Care home workers, NHS staff and people aged 80 and over began receiving the jab this morning.

The UK will need to look “very carefully” at the protection provided by the first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, the government’s chief scientific adviser has told Sky News, amid concerns its effectiveness is significantly lower than had been found in trials.

Sir Patrick Vallance said the government would “just need to keep measuring the numbers” as the vaccine is rolled out across the UK.

Live COVID news from UK and around the world

Answering questions from Sky News viewers, Sir Patrick was asked about an analysis from Israel, where the Pfizer jab has been rolled out the fastest.

That study suggested the effectiveness of the vaccine after a single dose was as low as 33% – rather than the 89% that had initially been thought.

The 89% figure – pointing to high short-term protection – was used to help justify the UK’s decision to delay giving a second vaccine dose to people for up to 12 weeks, as part of a push to get as many people as possible in the UK vaccinated with an initial first dose.

Sir Patrick said: “We need to look at this very carefully, we just need to keep measuring the numbers.”

He admitted that “in practice” the protection provided by one dose of a Pfizer vaccine probably won’t be as high as 89%, but he pushed back against the suggestion it could be as low as 33%.

Image:
The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was the first to be approved for use in the UK

“What we know from a clinical study is… if you take everything from day zero, the moment you get the vaccine, to day 28 then the overall figure is something like 50% protection,” Sir Patrick said.

“But, of course, you don’t expect to get any protection in the first 10 days, because it hasn’t had a chance for the immune system to build up.

“And some people may have been infected before they had the vaccine.

“So, if you take from day 10 up towards day 21 and beyond, then it looks much more like the 89% figure that the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation said.

“That’s the clinical trial data and we also know that when you get into real world practice, things are seldom quite as good as clinical trial.

“So I think the 89% or so is the figure you see post-10 days, so that’s the basis of the recommendation.

“It probably won’t be as high as that in practice, but I don’t think it will be as low as the figures you’ve just given.”

Sir Patrick said the UK would get more “real world” data from both Israel’s and the UK’s vaccination programme over the coming weeks to “get a better handle on exactly how effective this is in the real world, rather than in the conditions of a clinical trial”.

But he stressed it was “quite important not to assume this protects in the first 10 days, because it doesn’t”.

Scientists in Israel studied preliminary data from 200,000 vaccinated people.

Professor Ran Balicer, who works for the largest health care provider in Israel and who is an adviser to the World Health Organisation, told Sky News there was “no difference” between infections of vaccinated and unvaccinated people until 14 days after a Pfizer jab.

But he added that, on day 14 after vaccination, “a drop of 33% in positivity was witnessed in the vaccinated group and not in the unvaccinated”.

Prof Balicer said the data did not show an 89% reduction in positivity rates, but said further data and analysis would be provided after being peer-reviewed.

Israel is providing a second dose of the Pfizer vaccine at three weeks, which Prof Balicer said means it is “impossible” for them to analyse the impact of not providing a second dose for a longer period of time.

Continue Reading

Breaking News

Donald Trump issues flurry of pardons as he leaves office | US News

Published

on

Donald Trump issues flurry of pardons as he leaves office | US News

Former White House adviser Steve Bannon and rapper Lil Wayne are among the people being pardoned or granted clemency by Donald Trump in the final hours of his presidency.

The outgoing president granted clemency to 143 people on Wednesday.

Wayne pleaded guilty last month to possessing a loaded, gold-plated handgun on a private flight in 2019. He faces a sentence of up to 10 years in prison at a hearing next week.

Biden inauguration: Watch and follow events on Sky News from 1pm, with the ceremony starting at 4pm

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

‘We pray for the new administration’

The president met the rapper during his election campaign last year, with the artist later praising some of Mr Trump’s policies such as proposed justice reforms.

Controversial former White House adviser Bannon, who was fired by Mr Trump, has also been granted clemency.

“Bannon has been an important leader in the conservative movement and is known for his political acumen,” the White House said in a statement.

He was charged last year with swindling Trump supporters over an effort to raise private funds to build the US-Mexico border wall, and pleaded not guilty.

Bannon was appointed chief executive of Mr Trump’s successful presidential campaign in 2016, leaving his role at conservative website Breitbart News.

Lil Wayne
Image:
Lil Wayne is also among a raft of 11th-hour pardons and commutations

He became chief strategist for Mr Trump after his inauguration, but clashed with others in the White House and was pushed out in August 2017.

Bannon was recently banned from Twitter after he called for the beheading of top government doctor Anthony Fauci and FBI director Christopher Wray.

Others reportedly among the dozens of people being pardoned are Kodak Black – a rapper also sentenced over weapons charges, and former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick who is seven years into a 28-year sentence for corruption and racketeering.

Mr Trump has previously pardoned several of his closest confidantes such as Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser who lied to the FBI, and commuted the prison term for Roger Stone – who was convicted of lying to Congress during its probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Continue Reading

Breaking News

Super Bowl LV: First woman official chosen for showpiece American Football game | US News

Published

on

Ms Thomas will be a down judge at the Tampa game next month

A woman will officiate at next month’s Super Bowl for the first time, the NFL has announced.

Sarah Thomas, 47, will be a down judge at the world’s biggest annual sporting event.

“Her elite performance and commitment to excellence has earned her the right to officiate the Super Bowl.

“Congratulations to Sarah on this well-deserved honor,” said NFL executive vice president Troy Vincent.

Ms Thomas became the league’s first full-time female official in 2015, making her regular season debut in September that year.

Image:
Ms Thomas will be a down judge at the Tampa game next month

She will join a male-dominated staff of officials for the big game in Tampa, Florida, on 7 February.

Home town side Tampa Bay Buccaneers are due to play Green Bay Packers for a place in the game, while their opponents will be either Buffalo Bills or defending champions Kansas City Chiefs.

NFL bosses have yet to reveal how many fans will be able to attend due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Reports have suggested it could be around 20%, with fans sitting in groups and having to wear masks.

The half-time show comes from Canadian singer The Weeknd.

Continue Reading

Trending