It is incomprehensible as to how poor maternal nutriiton has emerged. During Word War II every mother was given, cod live oil, milk & orange juice even delivered to her front door FREE by the milkman

1 June 2019

The good health and wellbeing of all UK citizens in or out of work must now become a national priority

The adult unemployed in the UK – and especially mothers 

We are facing a grave crisis in the escallation of mental ill-health and the decline in measures of intelligence since 1950.
There is a robust scientific evidence base that this is due to the paucity of intelligent consideration of motherhood and an absence of relevant food policies to support the specialised requirements for the brain.
Morever as brain cells mostly devide before birth there is equally a failure to identify the supreme importance of the mother in securing the health and abilities of the next generation - and indeed, securing her own mental health during the process of reproduction. This paucity of intelligent policy making is global and incudes the UN. 

It is amazing and incomprehensible as to how this idiocy has emerged. During Word War II every mother was given, cod live oil, milk and orange juice even delivered to her front door free, by the milkman.

If the escallation of mental illhealth and decline in IQ continues (and there every reason why it will), then the end product is untinkable.  What you talk about in terms of extreme poverty is the canary of the coal mines. It is a disgrace that such is allowed to exist 
Professor Michael Crawford


Poor maternal nutrition

I live in Tottenham, on the borders of the Northumberland Park Ward, which is the most deprived ward in the London Borough of Haringey and among the 5% that make up the most deprived wards in England. The expectation of life, according to the 2011 census, is seven years shorter than in Highgate, in the west of the borough. Low birth weight is at 10 to 12%, or at near developing-world levels. 

Prof Michael Crawford has made the point internationally since 1972 that poor maternal nutrition adds substantially to the risk of low birth weight and permanent developmental brain disorder in the babies of impoverished mothers.

£73.10 a week adult unemployment benefit is so inadequate that the risks of poor maternal nutrition and its consequences are high. Three days' food from a food bank is not adequate to make up the shortfall.  And depriving a pregnant woman of all income needed to buy food with a benefit sanction must, in some cases, have catastrophic results for their babies.

Child health is unravelling iin the UK -  See the PowerPoint presentations of Professor Davod Taylor-Robinson

The adult unemployed in the UK are in extreme poverty 


The level of the single-adult unemployment benefit is currently £73.10 a week (the outgoing Jobseeker's Allowance, or JSA), which equates to £317 a month (the recently introduced Universal Credit). It has been losing value since 1979 and has been frozen since 2011. For a couple, JSA is £114.85pw, and Universal Credit £498pm. 

Letter published in";The Guardian HYPERLINK "", May 2009 

“When unemployment benefit started, in 1912, it was 7 shillings a week – about 22% of average male earnings in manufacturing. The percentage fluctuated over the succeeding decades, but, by 1979, the benefit rate was still about 21% of average earnings (manual and non-manual, male and female). By 2008, however, as a result of the policy of tying benefits to the price index while real earnings increased, the renamed Jobseeker's Allowance had fallen to an all-time low of 10.5% of average earnings. And while, in the past, means-tested allowances raised unemployed income to a higher minimum level, the Jobseeker's Allowance rates are now the same, whether means-tested or not.

Jonathan Bradshaw, University of York, and Tony Lynes, London”

All childrens', disability, Housing and Council Tax benefits are added to JSA/Universal Credit, which is paid to about 3.8 million people ""

£73.10 a week is below the Joseph Rowntree Foundation's minimum-income standards for food, water, fuel, clothes, transport of £92.92 per week, which is a very bare minimum, and a long way below the full MIS (Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2018 – see page 37). 

Before April 2013, the £73.10 was supported by 100% Housing and Council Tax benefits. Since April 2013, however, Council Tax has been charged at 8.5 to 30% against State-benefit incomes by 277 councils out of 326 in England. And those councils add court costs and bailiffs' fees to any arrears, which clearly cannot be paid out of a single-adult unemployment benefit of £73.10 a week.

Since April 2013, rent also has to be paid out of that £73.10: that was when the government first started to cut Housing Benefit, via

  • an overall benefit cap (which sets a limit on the total of household benefits and cuts housing benefit to reduce to total to that limit)
  • the so-called Bedroom Tax (a measure introduced in the Welfare Reform Act 2012, by which the amount of Housing Benefit paid to a claimant is reduced if the property they are renting is judged to have more bedrooms than necessary) and
  • Local Housing Allowance (rates used to calculate Housing Benefit for tenants renting from private landlords). A cut in Housing Benefit means an increase in rent for the tenant. And that rent is ever rising, owing to the chaotic UK housing market. 

The two child limit for benefit payments also forces three or more child families into arrears). 

For the UK’s 7 million tenants, the housing crisis is worsening. They possess no equity to fall back on. There is no escape from Council Tax, Income Tax or VAT (value-added tax on goods purchased). Moreover, rents and Council Tax are increasing, while incomes remain stagnant. 

If a disabled person fails the Work Capability Assessment, he or she is forced on to £73.10 a week JSA, which is not sufficient to support healthy living even for an able-bodied person.

In short, the adult unemployed in the UK – and especially the disabled and women before and during pregnancy  – are in extreme poverty.  

The impact of benefit sanctions

Leaving a pregnant woman without an income for up to three months, with the inevitable poor nutrition, increases the risks to the health of her offspring. While it is possible to understand the reason why politicians insist on conditionality when using taxpayers' money to pay the unemployed, it is impossible to support a Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) that punishes the unemployed more severely than the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) punishes thieves, and without even a fair trial. 

For failing to turn up at a work-related interview at a Job Centre, an unemployed person can have his/her income stopped for three months. That is a fine of £951.

In contrast, when a person appears before a magistrate, having committed a first or second criminal offence, the magistrate will levy a fine proportionate to the defendant's income and apply the Wednesbury Principles."ry Principles of reasonableness. The Job Centre official makes the decision in his or her office with no transparent legal process akin to the magistrate's. 

PN 30/5/2019