First News - - Front Page - by ed­i­tor Nicky Cox

LOUIS WIL­LIAMS has only one thing on his Christ­mas list – a home.

The nine-year-old boy from Kent wrote a let­ter to Fa­ther Christ­mas, say­ing: “Please can I have a for­ever home. I don’t want any new toys.”

Louis and his fam­ily were made home­less when his mum couldn’t keep up rent pay­ments. In his nine years, Louis has lived in 14 dif­fer­ent places and just wants a home for good. “Ev­ery­one is sad liv­ing here and I just want us to be happy again,” Louis wrote to Santa.

Louis’ let­ter to Fa­ther Christ­mas comes in a week when a new re­port shows more peo­ple, like Louis, could end up liv­ing in poverty in Bri­tain.

The UK Poverty 2017 re­port from the Joseph Rown­tree Foun­da­tion (JRF) looks at rates of poverty over 20 years. It says that the UK had been mak­ing progress, but that poverty is on the rise again.

The high cost of rent­ing or buy­ing houses and low wages are among the is­sues be­ing blamed. The JRF says that in­creas­ing em­ploy­ment is not re­duc­ing poverty any more, which is the op­po­site of what would be ex­pected.

There have been calls for Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May to make changes to the univer­sal credit scheme. Univer­sal credit is a sin­gle monthly pay­ment given to peo­ple who are out of work or who don’t earn much. For a cou­ple with two chil­dren, aged five and four­teen, an in­come of less than £401 a week is de­scribed as poverty. A sin­gle par­ent with kids the same age would be in poverty if they got less than £297 a week.

The JRF re­port says that “this squeeze on liv­ing stan­dards is also stor­ing up prob­lems for the fu­ture,” as peo­ple liv­ing in poverty can’t buy a house or save money, so their fi­nan­cial prob­lems will in­crease as they get older.


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