Child poverty is not inevitable; Labour can reduce it – LabourList

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No doubt the anti-Labour brigade will roll up to trash this article but it deserves an airing, if only because so many children are in poverty and homeless already.

According to Shelter, the number of homeless families increased from 80,000 at Christmas 2013 to 93,000 last Christmas – that’s a rise of 16.5 per cent.

But the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats want to tell you that poverty has dropped, because it is calculated as a percentage of wages, and wages have fallen – meaning fewer people earn the lowered amount that now counts as the poverty level.

Against that background, here’s Fiona Twycross, writing on LabourList:

One of the greatest confidence tricks of this government has been the demonisation of the poor and the remarkable feat of setting people on low income against each other while overseeing a continued rise of inequality. This inequality means that just two days in to the working year, on ‘Fat Cat Tuesday’ as it was dubbed by the High Pay Centre, top executives had earned £27,000, the equivalent of a year’s average earnings. Meanwhile, the number of people in work but earning poverty pay is rising.

After a week when some commentators have suggested there is little difference between the main parties, it is worth reminding ourselves of the need to place our Labour values to the core of what we say over the next few months. Not just for those conversations we will be having on the doorstep but to remind ourselves why we have to fight for a Labour victory.

Child poverty is not inevitable. It is possible to reduce it. Labour reduced the numbers of children living in poverty by 800,000 when we were in power. Not only does the Government have a statutory duty to end child poverty by 2020 [it seems the plan is to cut wages to a point where even the lowest-paid no longer count as in poverty, according to the yardstick mentioned above – meaning we’ll all be struggling], from a moral perspective as well, it has to be our goal to eliminate it.

I am tired of people suggesting that it might not do us any harm to be in opposition for a few more years. It might not do some of us harm individually but it would do massive harm to the most vulnerable in society. If we are unhappy at what has happened to the fabric of our society in the past five years, we need to be clear that a future Conservative-led government or coalition would take us further down their road to ruin.

The legacy of poverty in childhood stays with people throughout their lives. With millions of children already living in poverty, and all indications showing that many more are likely to join them unless the political direction of travel in this country changes, we are facing the fight not just for a Labour victory but for these children to have a better future.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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4 thoughts on “Child poverty is not inevitable; Labour can reduce it – LabourList

  1. Tim

    The OBR has said that if Osborne’s proposed welfare cuts are made – these are only the ones he has announced, there probably would be more – no fewer than 900,000 children will be pushed into poverty. Which I find absolutely shocking. The usual Tory counter to this is to ignore this fact and say something along the lines of: “The best way to help poor people is to have a dynamic economy and get them into jobs.” Which is true. Trouble is we end up with the poverty first and have to hope for the best for the rest, which, based on Osborne’s record so far is truly a leap of faith and one I cannot make personally.

  2. Andy

    “The best way to help poor people is to have a dynamic economy and get them into jobs.” Like the workhouse. Let’s hear it for volunteerism and philanthropy! The market will provide food banks, the rise in their use obviously means that people are taking responsibility for their own lives. We have the minimum wage, your not really poor until you only earn a $1 a day. You’ve never had it so good! This government taking us back to the 1930’s? It’s more like the 1830s!

  3. amnesiaclinic

    The damage done to children suffering from poverty will, as you say, scar them for the rest of their lives. It damages the developing brain as well as the body, the hunger means they cannot learn, they have nowhere to do homework and the parents are probable suffering from malnutrition as well. Not only that but it means there will be fertility problems in the future as well as the emotional scarring.
    Using food banks, being homeless and having families sanctioned for stupid reasons is the greatest indictment of this government and our society in the now 5th richest economy in the world.
    Every single politician should be totally ashamed.

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