The Big Issue 11/29/2021

The Big Issue is one of Britain’s leading news and cultural magazines. Every week’s edition is packed full of original takes on the biggest issues of the day as well as interviews with the most significant figures in politics and entertainment. The Big Issue was founded 1991 to give people experiencing homelessness the opportunity to earn their own income. We continue to support hundreds of vendors across the UK and all proceeds from sales go to help anyone wanting to lift themselves out of poverty.

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13 Issues

in this issue

1 min
mass movement

Thousands of migrants from Central and South America are travelling through Mexico in the hope of reaching the US. On arrival in Mexico, however, they are contained in the southern states of the country, poor areas where there is little support or employment opportunities and processing asylum applications is frustratingly slow. Over the last few months many have marched north, people who cannot afford to pay traffickers, travelling in large numbers for protection, only to be sent back to where they started. As these migrants were helping each other onto a flatbed truck in Jesús Carranza, Veracruz, to attempt to head to the US, Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador was meeting Joe Biden in Washington at the North America Leaders’ Summit. They agreed to “promote pathways to labour mobility”, “address the root…

13 min
the dispatch

FINANCE Jeff Bezos has given around $100m to charities helping homeless families. Which is nice. It’s about one per cent of what he earned in the last 12 months Amazon founder Jeff Bezos will give almost $100 million (£75 million) to charities helping homeless families in the US, it has been announced. The second richest man in the world’s Bezos Day One Fund will donate $96.2m (£72m) to 32 nonprofits across 21 American states, with each cause receiving grants between $750,000 and $5m, equal to £560,000 and £3.75m respectively. It’s the fourth straight year Bezos has donated the cash after setting up the fund with his then-wife MacKenzie Scott in 2018. So far just short of $400m (almost £300m) has been donated through the fund, with $2bn (£1.5bn) set to be paid out across…

4 min
‘i can’t support them any more’

It’s not just tenants who have been hit by Covid’s impact on the private rental market – landlord Karen Blake has also been left in a precarious financial position. The 64-year-old is owed £15,000 on three properties she owns in Monmouthshire, south Wales. Blake earmarked the three properties as her pension after she gave up work to raise her family. She told The Big Issue she backs the Stop Mass Homelessness campaign because she believes ministers paying off £360 million in rent arrears is the only way tenants crippled by the impact of Covid will be able to avoid being saddled with unpayable debt and left without a home. “I’m very disillusioned with the government because when Rishi Sunak says, ‘Oh well, we can’t help everybody’, they weren’t actually helping those who…

1 min
the stats

495,000 renters are in arrears (Citizens Advice) £360,000,000 has been racked up in rent arrears (Citizen Advice) 225,000 renters are “probably” or “likely” to lose their home (StepChange) £9,266 per person is saved in public spending for preventing someone from homelessness every year (Crisis) £2,263 is the cost of preventing homelessness for one person for one year (Crisis) £2,234,025,000 would be saved if £360m in rent arrears is paid off now rather than waiting for people to fall into homelessness…

3 min
editor’s letter

In a period of crisis like this, we can’t means test for righteousness There is a teacher zipping about Leeds delivering beds. Over the last few years Bex Wilson has helped get 1,400 beds and bedding to the most in-need children in the city. There is a film about Bex on the BBC website. She is one of those good, indomitable people who see a problem and decide to do what they can to fix it. She arrives at a house, a house stalked by poverty, tells children she had heard they were great but could be even greater if they had a good night’s sleep, and like Nanny McPhee she helps them and then heads off into the city air. She’s careful to make sure the children don’t feel embarrassed about…

4 min
bird’s words

As Christmas approaches I often reflect on my best and worst. The worst was definitely sitting in an all-night launderette in London’s Earl’s Court waiting for a girlfriend to come back from a party so I could spend the night with her. She must have got waylaid because she never turned up. It was Christmas Eve of 1968 and I was 22 and hiding from the police and my wife’s solicitors, who wanted to serve me with divorce papers. After a few hours, and with midnight approaching, I went around and looked for a party to get in to. I found one, found a young woman who wanted to go for a walk with me and perhaps go back with her. But when I returned to the party the door was…