Published on 9 Jan 2013
The European Union says nearly a quarter of its population is at risk of poverty or social exclusion.
In Britain, the debate among the political classes is less about a crisis of capitalism, but much more a crisis of national debt and how to tackle it.
For many years, people with physical disabilities in the UK had been told by their doctors that they did not have to work and would recieve state benefits instead.
As austerity measures continue, now even they are seeing their benefits cut or even stopped completely.
Al Jazeera’s Laurence Lee reports from Edinburgh: