Politics

Welcome to Tory Britain: a place of child poverty

Tory Britain
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Childhood poverty

According to HM Revenue and Customs figures obtained by the Daily Mirror, the number of children living in low-income families rose from 2.5m to 2.75m between 2013 to 2014.

Behind those grim figures, it means that during the last Coalition Government, the number of children living in poor families was one in five.

Since then, the situation has worsened. Child poverty has risen to over 200,000 children over the past year.

It is estimated that 29% of children are now classed as being in poverty.

In total four million children live within families who are struggling to make ends meet. Of those families, two-thirds (66%) have at least one adult in work, with poverty no longer being the preserve of the jobless.

These grim figures reinforce projections from experts like the Institute for Fiscal Studies and the Resolution Foundation that UK child poverty is set to rise by 50% or more by 2020.

What is also clear from these grim figures is that more and more children are being left behind in poverty, missing out on childhoods and life chances that other children take for granted.

Conservative failures

Campaigners and Labour council leaders have accused the government of failing to protect vulnerable children up and down the country.

PM Theresa May has said she was committed to delivering a country that works for everyone – not just the privileged few.

But in Salford, the consequences of child poverty has led to an increase of children suffering from hunger.

The number of malnutrition cases in Salford has doubled, with many of the victims being children.

Victorian illnesses such as beriberi – thought to be completely eradicated many years ago, are on the rise due to food poverty.

The Conservatives have claimed that they are building an economy that works for everyone, with more people than ever, having a job.

However, many of the new jobs created are insecure, low-paid, and low-skilled. They don’t pay enough to provide the bare essentials. The use of zero hours contracts or of self-employment contracts are now widespread and explained the surge of foodbank usage and homelessness in the country since 2010. Forgotten forms of poverty are becoming standard again.

Tory Britain

But the government’s policy of withdrawing benefits for people who break rules on claiming them is also another factor behind the growth of foodbank use in the UK, a study has found.

Research by Oxford university found that for every 10 extra benefit sanctions imposed between one three-month period and the next, five more food parcels were handed out.

“Sanctioning appears to be closely linked with rising need for emergency food assistance,” according to the study, which was carried out for the Trussell Trust, a food bank charity. It examined the relationship between sanctions and food banks in populations of 100,000 across 259 local authorities.

This culture of blaming the poor for being poor, is at the heart of the May’s government.  The current PM and, before her, David Cameron have made promises of delivering a fairer Britain. In reality, it is the poor, sick and most vulnerable in our society that are paying for the consequences of austerity Britain.

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