Poverty in the UK during the 1930s
December 25, 2012 3:21 PM   Subscribe

"Yet when I went before the Public Assistance Committee [to plead for more benefit] they asked me if the baby was being breast-fed and when I said yes, they reduced the allowance for a child.' [Daily Mail - Although not their usual fare].
posted by marienbad (12 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
Well I'm certainly glad that nothing like that is going on anywhere in the world any more. What a difference 80 years makes! Right?

posted by localroger at 3:45 PM on December 25, 2012 [8 favorites]

We can never thank Beveridge and Attlee enough. There is little I can say to demonstrate my and my family's deepest thanks for what they have done for the poorest of the country. In 1930, my nana was in the workhouse, and my grandfather in a slum: that these two things are now foreign to me is through the hard work and understanding of these two men and the millions they inspired. They are modern-day saints.
posted by Jehan at 3:52 PM on December 25, 2012 [17 favorites]

The juxtaposition with the right column's excess along with the trivial trials and tribulations of today's latest pseudo-celebrity makes it all the more.
posted by Talez at 3:57 PM on December 25, 2012 [4 favorites]

Time To Spare was broadcast with an appeal to listeners to rally round in this time of national crisis and 'make yourself known to the manager of your local Labour Exchange' to initiate schemes to occupy those without work.

The series was so successful in airing the horrors of unemployment that the government tried to ban it.

And in 1934, Sir John Reith, the BBC's formidable director-general, was summoned to Downing Street to be told by the Prime Minister, Ramsay MacDonald, that the series could not continue.

MacDonald was the first Prime Minister from the Labour Party (!!!), though by 1934 he lead a ministry composed of members from several different parties. On the one hand it is sad that he would be agree with (even be responsible for?) shutting down this program(me) on the BBC. On the other hand, in 1924 (when he led a Labour-only government):

When the Labour Party executive criticized the government, he replied that, "public doles, Poplarism [local defiance of the national government], strikes for increased wages, limitation of output, not only are not Socialism, but may mislead the spirit and policy of the Socialist movement.
posted by dhens at 4:36 PM on December 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

How we look after the poorest of our society reflects on us all. Well posted when we consider the season of excess this week.
posted by arcticseal at 4:50 PM on December 25, 2012 [6 favorites]

How soon we forget!
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 9:10 PM on December 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

But what if the child was breast-fed by a surrogate/wet nurse?
posted by porpoise at 9:53 PM on December 25, 2012

From two months ago, this story about a baby boy starving to death in Westminster : Double death in asylum seeker family reveals gap in state benefits. Britain still has a long way to go, particularly in terms of its treatment of migrants.
posted by plep at 12:18 AM on December 26, 2012

No plep, Britain has gone backwards. This is what we're returning to, with help from the Daily Mail.
posted by Summer at 3:33 AM on December 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

Double death in asylum seeker family reveals gap in state benefits.

She got state benefits. Her asylum claim was approved. The bureaucracy failed to transfer her correctly from one department providing benefits to another, providing benefits. Her family had complex health needs. I suspect she was unable to speak and especially read English well, and of course this was a foreign country for her. A difficult situation, failures all round.
posted by alasdair at 5:15 AM on December 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

Don't forget, it was a Labour government - and in particular Anthony (later Tony) Wedgewood-Benn (later merely Benn) as Postmaster General - which slapped down the pirate radio stations which were the first independent broadcasters based out of the UK. Independent and popular are compounding sins...
posted by Devonian at 3:43 PM on December 26, 2012

The American WIC system today gives an infant (i.e. under the age of 1) fewer - or even no - benefits if the mother is breastfeeding him/her. But mom gets more benefits if she is.

As for a wet nurse, you can mark a mom as not breastfeeding while an infant is breastfeeding, but not the other way around, and the system links infants and mothers to prevent funny business. I'm not sure offhand, but I believe that the wet nurse can get benefits as well, but I'd have to look into it.

In fact, mom's benefits outweigh the cancelled infant benefits, and thus it's actually more expensive (at least as far as WIC is concerned) for a woman to breastfeed than it is for a woman not to. Of course, it's cheaper for the educational, mental health, and correctional systems down the line.

Source: I work for a state WIC program.
posted by Hatashran at 6:37 PM on December 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

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