The Scavenger: These Foolish Things: Love Me, Do

Love me, do
For Valentine’s Day. the brewing combine, Bass, launched a new alcopop especially for young lovers. It is called Smooch. It has the flavour of passion fruit and an alcohol content of 4.5 percent. In January the Health Education Authority attacked the targeting of boys and girls with specially designed alcoholic drinks and the big brewers made appropriately responsible noises. But Bass is proposing to spend £5 million promoting stiles of alcopops in 1996-7

Dear Editor (1)
“ . . . I am to have a rent increase of £7.50. pushing my rent from £37 a week to £44.50 for a two-bed flat. I pay out £88 a week on basic bills That’s now, and after my increase? Well, so what? I will just get into debt. I eat by not paying a bill, and no chance in hell of paying it off—all this out of a take- home pay of £95 for 35 hours’ work a week, including weekends. I pay into a credit union in order to finance my TV licence. Being trapped on the dole isn’t so bad as being trapped in low-paid labour . . . “ Evening Mail, 19 December.

Recycling poverty in Britain
According to figures from the University of Essex, almost half those defined as poor in a given year are above the poverty line 12 months later—but at least a third slip down the income ladder again the following year. “The picture which emerges is a churning of incomes rather than a one-way ticket out of poverty,” (Professor Jenkins) said. Drawing on a panel of 8,000 households, the research shows that the bulk of the “persistent” poor are pensioners and unemployed parents. including lone parents. Families moving in and out of poverty tend to be victims of redundancy, divorce or the death of a breadwinning partner. The arrival of a baby also pushed some households below the breadline, the researchers found. Guardian, 24 October.

Dear Editor (2)
“I am 53 years old. and have been working since leaving school at 15. I am to be made redundant in April, after 1 have been paying into my work’s pension scheme for the last 30 years. Calling into the Selly Oak Job Centre. I was told that because I will be drawing over £50 a week from my work’s pension, I am not entitled to any state money. So I have paid into the system for 38 years and got nowt. I will not be classed as unemployed . . . ” Evening Mail, 9 January).

The richest nation
The US leads the industrial world in child poverty, according to a Christian humanitarian coalition. Around 22 percent of Americans under 18 years old live in poverty. One child in four under 13 is hungry or at the risk of hunger, according to a survey by the Bread For The World Institute issued in Luxembourg. Canada and Australia tie for second in the child hunger league table, ahead of Ireland and Israel and then Britain, where one in ten children under 18 live in poverty. A separate UN report last week counted 1.3 billion people worldwide who survive on less that $1 a day. An estimated 60 percent of the globe lives on less than $2 a day, according to the UN Development Programme. Guardian, 24 October.

The Scavenger