'It's broken beyond repair': This caller fears for poverty stricken people as report reveals collapse of social contract

5 September 2023, 15:39 | Updated: 6 September 2023, 09:15

Caller Mary believes the social contract between the state and public is 'broken beyond repair'

By Anna Fox

Caller Mary asserts that the social contract between the state and the public is irreparably damaged, suggesting animals receive better treatment than those on the poverty line.

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Following a report from the Poverty Strategy Commission, regarding the collapse of the UK's social contract, it was noted that poor people are simply "surviving not living".

Opening her conversation with Shelagh Fogarty caller Mary stated "It's broken, it's broken beyond repair".

Mary agreed with the report's findings, telling Shelagh that as a trustee of three men (two with mental illness) following the death of their mother, she witnessed a near-death experience due to insufficient food supplies.

She said: "One of them almost died during the pandemic, not from COVID, but from starvation.

"He had no food for weeks, I rang mental health services and I emailed them, I wrote letters and nobody responded."

Confiding in Shelagh that following the death of their mother, she assumed her role would involve "investing money and making sure they had extras", Mary noted her position subsequently entailed a lot more.

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Continuing, Mary stated: "They were all living in squalor, they had mice and rat infestations and not enough food to eat.

Read More: Read more: Government 'shrugging their shoulders' over crumbling schools, Labour claims, as Tories hit back at 'opportunism'

"The most basic and fundamental stuff isn't there for them, animals get treated better in this country."

The report highlighted that not only have overall relative poverty rates barely moved over the past 20 years but even in areas where some progress was notable, they have started to go into reverse.

Mary asserted to Shelagh: "We don't treat people properly, we don't treat them with dignity or respect.

"They're not given enough money to live on, one of the lads lives on a can of soup every two days.

"It's almost as if they're just forgotten and neglected."

A “social contract” between state and citizen is often referred to by the government however the commission says in practice this does not exist.

The report notes that a social security system routinely fails to protect people from poverty even when they are working, are unable to work through disability, or are pensioners.

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