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Title : Is This England? British Poverty In The '90s
Description : Impoverished Britain (1996) - The loss of minimum wage in Britain has resulted in the gap between the rich and the poor growing hugely.

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'Newtown' just outside Birmingham is looking dirty, rundown and old. 50 % of its citizens are unemployed, living in grey towerblocks overlooking the urban devastation. The flats are poorly equipped with basic furnishings. All people can do is watch television. As the rich people get richer, the poor get poorer. Chris Pond from the Low Pay Unit blames poverty and hardship on the Conservative Government's free market economy and their opt out from the social chapter. A tramp slumped on a bench with dirty blanket at his feet is a potent symbol of the such social deprivation. Loretta Matthews is surviving on £121 a week as a single parent with four children. Sometimes she cannot pay for her electricity and she has to sit in the dark. Or she sorts out her problems by drinking a bottle of brandy. In Newtown itself, iron shutters and boarded up windows have replaced the shops. No one has any money to spend. Irene, aged 40, is too afraid to walk on streets in case she gets mugged. Chris Pond feels ashamed to be British and grimaces at the thought that low wages in Britain might undermine the rest of Europe in its attempts to achieve some kind of solidarity.

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