Re: True poverty still exists in the UK
Sure, there's child poverty (and adult poverty).
But that's a dangerous observation, because it so easily leads to a bogus conclusion that it would go away if benefits levels for their families were higher.
People may be poor here for two reasons:
(1) Where theory and practice differ. People may be poor in absolute terms if they are denied the money the law says they are entitled to, and have to live on much less. Benefits levels are of little relevance to those who don't get them.
(2) Where they cannot cope. A child whose parents have an ample income but spend it all on fags and booze is indeed poor, and through no fault of their own. This is a particularly troublesome case, because the "give them more money in benefits" solution may be more likely to make things worse than better.
A non-financial safety net - like hostels and soup kitchens, and indeed free school meals - have the huge advantage that they can't be diverted into booze/etc.
FWIW (1) has happened to me, most recently in 2003 when I did the basic arithmetic and saw that the cost of travel to London to march against invading Iraq would've been six months food budget. And that's at the special "unwaged" rate the organisers were advertising for the buses they'd laid on!