Anne Marie Waters
December 1st 2020
There is a short documentary on the BBC website looking at the financial situation for the poorest people in Burnley. A church representative told how children ‘rip open bags for food’ while he makes deliveries to impoverished homes; homes that have become evermore impoverished in 2020.
Working people have seen wage reductions when they were already just about keeping their heads above water. Watch the short film for yourself. This is the UK in the 21st century and people are all-but falling over themselves trying to get to food.
It is an absolute scandal and all signs suggest it is only going to get worse.
The breaking news today is that the retailer Debenhams is set to close its doors with the loss of 12,000 jobs. That’s another 12,000 people thrown out of work and readjusted to state dependency – their independence gone. Many will find work again, but many will not. For 1,000s, this will be the end of the working road.
Similarly, another high street giant Arcadia (which owns Top Shop, Dorothy Perkins, and Burton) has gone in to administration, this time with 13,000 set to be lost. This means not only is our high street being decimated but 10,000s of people are being thrown on the scrapheap in an environment with very few alternatives.
In Wales, pubs, cafes and restaurants are now barred from serving alcohol – for many, their biggest revenue raiser. Some of those in the industry say this will be the end for them. That means yet more unemployment.
What increases the frustration, and the financial loss, is that many pubs and restaurants have spent their money preparing their venues to be COVID-19 compliant, only to be later told to close anyway.
One landlady, Kelly Jolliffe, told Radio Wales “We were all decked out, all socially distanced, bookings coming in, everybody working around the regulations”. But it made no difference. Now she has been told to close and her Christmas trade is gone.
This is heartbreaking. We are watching decent hard-working people trying their best to make an honest living and they meet a brick wall at every turn. Decisions made, I suspect rather casually, by politicians at round table meetings, are dismantling our country brick by financial brick.
Rishi Sunak has no answers. Boris Johnson has no answers.
Whatever happens when the eye of this storm has passed, there is one thing we must remember; when things were really tough, our government made it worse.
When we ‘Build Back Better’, we must make sure we include better leaders.
Anne Marie Waters
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