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From The Socialist newspaper, 24 June 2015

Child poverty soars

Matt Gordon, Bristol Socialist Party
Photo: Bridget Coila (Creative Commons)

Photo: Bridget Coila (Creative Commons)   (Click to enlarge)

By 2020, almost a quarter of UK children will lack the basic necessities needed to keep body and soul together. That is the definition of 'absolute poverty' and the figures come from a damning indictment by a leading charity.

Child poverty fell from 3.4 million in 1998 to 2.3 million in 2010 after New Labour's Child Poverty Act - but now it has risen massively, condemning millions of low income families to suffering and penury.

The report commissioned by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation shows that children in relative poverty (ie less than 60% of average income) will rise from 2.6 million in 2009 to 3.3 million in 2020.

Working-age adults in relative poverty will also rise from 5.7 million in 2009 to 7.5 million by 2020.

The report states that this is a direct result of the cuts carried out by the last government, and the 12 billion of further welfare cuts will make things worse.

As well as attacks on benefits, wages remain stagnant and there is a 'poverty premium' that forces the poorest to pay more for rent, gas, electricity and even food, meaning the cost of living is highest for those least able to pay.

The Tory response is push for more cuts and to redefine what poverty means to reduce the figures. They continue to demonise welfare claimants as workshy, when being in work does not protect people, especially children, from poverty.

None of Labour's would-be leaders, with the exception of Jeremy Corbyn, provide any solutions. They too support additional cuts - which are driving people to food banks and now fuel banks as well.

The report correctly lays the blame for increased child poverty at the feet of the government and austerity, but it is also goes further by saying that schools need proper funding, that long-term youth unemployment must be tackled, and that a living wage is needed. The report states that five million people currently earn less than a living wage.

We call for a 10 an hour minimum wage. This will reduce the need to claim tax credits and housing benefit while lifting millions out of poverty.

One of the richest countries in the world has more than enough resources to end child poverty, but only socialist policies can do this.

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In The Socialist 24 June 2015:


Socialist Party news and analysis

City of London fills with defiance against austerity

After huge anti-austerity demos: organise the fightback!

Child poverty soars

Youth Fight Austerity!

Them & Us


Socialist Party comments and reviews

Why I joined

Laying the foundation stones of the workers' movement

Theatre review: The Red Lion


Socialist Party features

Can Jeremy Corbyn's Labour leadership challenge help to develop the socialist left?

What next for the NHS?


International socialist news and analysis

Greece: Syriza backtracks

International news in brief


Socialist Party workplace news

Prentis pushed to talk up action

Transport workers plan fightback

Regulator eyes Royal Mail for profit

Workplace news in brief

Strike in Swansea to defend home tuition jobs

Outsourced workers' pay strike


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Campaigning for the victims of police brutality

Wales: Local Government reorganisation threat

Scotland anti-austerity rally, Glasgow

Labour wields Tory axe at Library of Birmingham

Hull: A new generation of activists

Growing the party in Sheffield

Socialist bake-off at London picnic


 

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Related links:

Child poverty:

triangleValentine victory: School strike beats council cuts

triangleUniversal Credit could trap women in violent relationships

triangle250,000 families in "non-decent" homes

triangleWorking families 50 a week short of paying for kids

triangleChild poverty to hit 5m by 2021 - strikes can stop the cuts

Poverty:

triangleAusterity kills

triangleChesterfield Socialist Party: The politics of food poverty

triangle6.5 million working poor: Fight to end low pay

triangleThem & Us

Cuts:

triangleStop the council cuts

triangleHousing cuts cost lives

triangleCouncil cuts could cost Labour another general election

Children:

triangleCallous Tory cuts to children's speech therapy in Nottinghamshire

triangleChildren need intensive care? We don't care!

Welfare:

triangleEven social-care bosses say cuts have gone too far

Schools:

triangleEast London anti-academy strikes escalate

Housing benefit:

triangleHousing arrears double, suicide risk soars - scrap Universal Credit!

Unemployment:

triangleCapitalism and human progress

Austerity:

triangleNumber of women killed by current or ex-partner rises

Benefits:

triangleNew BBC series - Insight or whitewash?

Bristol:

triangleUC stopped without warning

Minimum wage:

triangleAverage wages recover to pre-crisis levels - but we're still over a decade behind

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