WE should be cautious in any debate about poverty in the UK (“Most children with jobless parents to fall into poverty in next decade”, The Herald, April 14). The problem lies in the definition of poverty. According to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation relative income poverty is where households have less than 60 per cent of contemporary median income. Absolute income poverty is where households have less than 60 per cent of the median income in 2010/11 uprated by inflation. Note that both definitions are related to median income. Neither is concerned with the basic income necessary to sustain life.

The median income in the UK in 2017 was £27,300. A single mother with one child would fall into the poverty trap if the household income was less than £16,380.

I grew up in a farm cottage in Berwickshire during the Second World War. The water supply was 150 yards down the road at the horse trough. Water was carried to the cottage in two buckets suspended from a wooden yoke. There was no electricity and the toilet was out back behind the pig sties. The two-room cottage was home to six adults and a child. By the standards of 2018, I was brought up in relative and absolute poverty. But we were not poor. Everyone was in the same boat and there was a sense of community. As a child, I was surrounded by love and support. My favourite toy was a glass jar filled with corks. When they were tipped out onto the carpet, they could be anything my imagination allowed. My toy cost nothing but brought endless hours of pleasure and entertainment. I had to amuse myself. I was not parked in front of a video screen.

There is a real and serious danger with the loose use of “poverty” and “deprived”. Communities get labelled because of a lack of material wealth. Material wealth is used as a measure by wealthy politicians who ignore any sense of community since they themselves don’t know what it is. It defies any attempt to measure it and enter the value on a sociologists form. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are not about material wealth.

Poverty in the UK is caused by too many people only in it for the money. The modern lifestyle of two working parents living the dream in the detached villa in the suburbs with 2.5 children and two cars in the driveway drives up the median income and by a statistical sleight of hand, creates more children living in “poverty”.

John Black,

The Scottish Jacobite Party, 6 Woodhollow House, Helensburgh.