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Comment: Poverty is our problem too
Ask most people where they would least expect to find real poverty and Windermere, in the heart of the Lake District National Park, would probably be somewhere near the top of the list.
With its spectacular location, fine hotels, the flood of tourists eager to sample the delights of the Lake District and with plenty of homes for sale with a price tag of more than three quarters of a million pounds, surely Windermere is the epitome of a wealthy, affluent community.
That myth was shattered this week with news that around 100 people have flocked to an emergency relief centre in the town in the past few weeks to collect three-day, emergency food hampers because they simply cannot afford to feed themselves and their families properly.
They include single parents, families and benefit claimants, who are finding the financial pressures of modern life too hard to cope with.
Average house prices in Windermere might be £367,000, unemployment might only sit at just 2.23 per cent and only seven houses in the town are officially classed as in stage four deprivation.
But this is a community that - like other parts of the country - includes people who are clealry really struggling.
This is the side of the ‘honeypot’ town that the tourists do not get to see - and it is surely a real cause for concern, locally and nationally.
Forecasters this week were predicting a flat economy for 2013, with inflation expected to rise by two-three per cent and family incomes not growing at the same rate.
As utility and other bills continue to soar and with talk of a ‘lost decade’ of economic growth, it all looks rather gloomy.
One imagines and hopes there are ‘think-tanks’ of experts at the highest level, meeting regularly to try to get Britain out of this economic mess.
But with the country part of a global economy which is going through an awful patch, there seems little that the UK Government can do to drag Britain back into sustained growth.
The one bright point in all this is the amazing generosity of food bank operators like Rose Booth and of those in the community who are prepared to donate food to her worthwhile project.