One child in three is living below the poverty line in parts of Kingston. As part of a new series of features David Lindsell spoke to parents about poverty and how the council intends to tackle it.

Stand by for the sob stories:

A father on his sick bed wept as he told me how his wife and two daughters had been helped by the Food Bank since he fell ill.

Ahhh, right on cue!

The man, who asked for his family not to be identified, ran out of money when he was hospitalised after coming to Britain to make a life for himself.

Oh, woe!

His girls ran around the sparsely-decorated house playing in a cardboard box as their mother told me about the bureaucracy they had faced to get any benefits they were entitled to, leaving them with no food.

So, which god-forsaken Third World hellhole did they hail from?

The family came to the UK from Portugal and spoke broken English through an interpreter

Ah. Right. So he wanted to ‘make a new life for himself’ in a country, but not to the extent of learning the language?

So…how did he expect to manage at work?

Paul Pickhaver, who delivered a few boxes of cans, fresh food and cereals to their home about 10 minutes from New Malden town centre, said: “There’s a real frustration about how long it takes for benefit entitlement to be determined– six to eight weeks.“For more than a month there will be no income.

“Social Services think the family can live on £80 a week. You could get food for that but you can’t cook if you don’t have any electricity or live if you can’t heat the house.

“This is a particular stark situation because they are getting no benefits at all but we have had another four families call this week whose benefits have been stopped.”

Are they all from Portugal too?

11 comments for “Influx…

  1. Tattyfalarr
    May 9, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    They should print all these sob stories daily in foreign newspapers.

    It wouldn’t hurt the rest of us for these “terrible shocks” to hit them before they even think about packing their smalls.

  2. nisakiman
    May 9, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    “…after coming to Britain to make a life for himself.”


    “…the bureaucracy they had faced to get any benefits they were entitled to…”

    So he came to Britain to make a life for himself on benefits (to which he has contributed not one penny) and is now pissed off it’s taking so long for those benefits to materialise?


    What is it about the UK? Where I am, had I arrived in the country and immediately demanded benefits they would simply (and justifiably) have told me to fuck off. End of.

  3. David
    May 9, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    Just because they’re ‘from Portugal’ doesn’t mean they’re Portuguese.

    • May 9, 2012 at 7:29 pm

      Hmmm, good point.

      • AndrewWS
        May 9, 2012 at 9:27 pm

        Angolans, maybe?

        • Watchman
          May 10, 2012 at 4:58 pm

          Or one of the other ex-Portuguese colonies – it is easier to get citizenship in Portugal than in any other EU country I know, so there is a habit of people spending the required time there, then coming to Britain (or presumably one of the other ‘desirable’ countries) as soon as citizenship is granted.

    • Mudplugger
      May 9, 2012 at 9:42 pm

      Portugal’s a popular ‘EU periphery’ entry-point for many crossing from North Africa.
      If they’re any good at sport, the canny Portuguese quickly assimilate them into their national squads – the rest are equally quickly encouraged to distribute themselves across the wider EU, pursuing their optimum lifestyle choice – and guess where that is ?

  4. Able
    May 9, 2012 at 11:51 pm

    Oh believe me we get quite enough Portuguese people too (usually the unqualified, criminal, mental health issues, addicts, etc.). there was quite a drive some years ago for major employers in this area to go to Portugal and recruit. One, a food manufacturer, employed about eighty. They all travelled here (at employers expense), were housed (at employers expense), trained (ditto) and then…

    … six months down the line, all but two left the work, got housed by the council and onto benefits. There’s a local bar, in the city centre, which has been all but taken over by them. Go there any time of any day and find those poor, desperate, penniless Portuguese downing drinks after drink and living it up (amazingly all wearing nice clothes and driving smart cars – must be from some ‘charity’ you think?).

    I spoke to one, he already has five kids but said he couldn’t afford more in Portugal. Guess what? yep, his wife is pregnant now since we get to support them instead.

    We have a bunch of Poles too but they at least seem to be taking on every smelly and unwanted job around.

    Welcome to Britain, the dumping ground for every one of Europes psychos, alcoholics, drug-addicts, criminals, and parasitic wastrels.

  5. Ken from Kuwinjeeburra
    May 10, 2012 at 11:30 am

    ” playing in a cardboard box” ? …….. luxury !
    When I were a lad we only had a brown paper bag to play in,that’s when we weren’t i’nt shelter, ( air raid that is).

    • May 10, 2012 at 4:14 pm

      Surely playing with a cardboard box demonstrates imagination and creativity?

      At least, that’s what I’ll grit my teeth and tell myself when my new kittens forsake the expensive toys I’ve ordered to play in the Amazon delivery box instead!

      • Tattyfalarr
        May 11, 2012 at 9:53 am

        O/T but my mogsters love chasing around the polystyrene curls…and give them a square tile of polystyrene to rip their claws into they’re in heaven 🙂

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