In spite of the UK being one of the richest nations in the world there are some very shocking figures coming to light. The latest figures indicate that there are 2 million of its citizens suffering malnutrition. Almost half of all patients in care or residential homes and one third of those attending out-patient clinics and GP surgeries are not getting enough to eat. Malnutrition affects up to 14% of the elderly living at home. It seems that malnutrition is not restricted to the Third World, in the UK it is on the increase, but hidden by the State’s spin and act with smoke and mirrors, also its obsession with obesity, ( we are all getting too much.)
In Scotland, that poorer part of Britain, during the 2003/04 winter there were 2,900 cold related deaths among the elderly, an increase of 400 on the previous year, the worst figures in Europe. People who were just too poor to heat themselves. All this happening and Scottish and Southern Energy, whose profits jumped 11% to £267.9 million, in line with other energy companies, increased their prices as winter approached.
Almost half of all Scottish pensioners are living in poverty. Debt councillors have stated that the number of pensioners facing debt problems has doubled in the last ten years. During the same period the council tax has shot up 81% while pensions have risen by only 40%. In Scotland 300,000 households are trying to get by on an income of less than £10,000 a year, 34,000 (1.6% of the adult working population) are still being paid below the minimum rate. In that citadel of consumerism, Glasgow, the life expectancy of the average male is 69.1 years, the only city in the UK where it is below 70. Add to that the fact that 41% of all households in Glasgow are living in poverty.
If this is not an indictment of the system and those who manage it, then what is. Surely if we took control of our own lives, common-sense and compassion would drive us to devise a system of social justice and eliminate these gross injustices that are the product of a system that is driven by profit and greed