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OPINION – The Standard View: Join our appeal to help Londoners living in poverty


W

e’ve given it a one-size-fits-all name: the cost-of-living crisis. But hard economic times hit everyone differently. A lucky few are blissfully unaffected. Many millions are forced to cut back on treats or trade down to budget brands. Others — people we live near and work with — are facing impossible choices.

The scale of the suffering happening right now will come as a shock, even to those well aware of the scourge of rising prices and soaring bills. A mother putting her baby to sleep in an open drawer because she cannot afford a cot. Families sitting in the dark and cold at night, swathed in coats and blankets for fear of unaffordable bills. It should not be happening in what we consider to be a wealthy country.

That is why today the Evening Standard, alongside our sister title, The Independent, is launching our Cost of Living Christmas Appeal, On the Breadline. We have joined forces with Comic Relief, who have pledged £1 million to kickstart the campaign.

We are now inviting everyone, from philanthropists to ordinary Londoners with something small to spare, to get involved. Funds will go to charities and organisations in the capital and around the country to help people struggling this Christmas.

Covid-19 was a public health crisis that required a huge national sacrifice and a concerted effort. This is a poverty crisis that is impacting the health, wellbeing and life chances of millions of people. We must act, and we need your help.

Homes must be safe

Housing conditions in Britain were brought to the fore last week, as coroner Joanne Keasley delivered her verdict on the tragic death of two-year-old Awaab Ishak from a respiratory condition caused by mould. Awaab lived in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, but the problem will be all too familiar to those living in the capital.

Indeed, this morning we report that a London council has admitted “indefensible errors” were made in failing to ensure that thousands of its social homes were safe to live in. Issues ranging from outdated fire door replacements to incomplete asbestos assessments were identified across Redbridge’s 4,400 council homes.

A safe home is a human right. From local authorities to housing associations and the private rental sector, we must ensure that there are stronger protections in place for all tenants.

Saka’s star is rising

Bukayo Saka, of Ealing, Arsenal and England, took the World Cup by storm yesterday, scoring two goals and getting the team’s campaign off to a flyer against Iran.

It is hard — and would be wrong — to look away from the controversies of this tournament, from the mess made over the OneLove campaign to support LGBTQ rights to the continued denial of human rights by the government of Qatar. At the same time, football fans should be able to cheer on their team.

Goals don’t count double when they’re scored by someone as well-liked as Saka. But they do taste all the sweeter.

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