The Real Cost of Welfare Reforms: Five Million Children Face a Lifetime of Poverty.

“We’re increasingly worried that unless there is a dramatic change of course we’re at risk of writing off the future of millions of British children, giving them an unfair start in life.

This isn’t just a question of statistics; we see families through our programmes around the UK who are really struggling. Millions of children in the UK are being left behind – sentenced to a lifetime of poverty. Far too many of our children are living in cold and damp homes, without healthy food, with parents who can see no end to their situation. If we ignore the rising toll of poverty we are blighting the future of a further 1.4million children.  In one of the world’s richest countries there is simply no excuse.”
Justin Forsyth CEO Save the Children

According to a report by Save the Children five million children could be trapped in poverty by 2020, the highest ever recorded.

Definition of poor according to the Oxford English Dictionary :”lacking sufficient money to live at a standard considered comfortable or normal in a society” The definition of poverty:   The state of being extremely poor  

Unless something changes, five million children in the UK could be living in poverty by 2020.

Paul OGrady writing for the Daily Mirrors says: Millions of our kids are living in poverty – when are we going to do something about it?

Well… What are we going to do about it and all the other social injustices of the past four years

How many more children have to fall below the poverty line before we act? How many more children need to suffer as a result of this unelected government’s unfair polices?

Will you speak out for the UKs’ Poorest children and demand something is done to prevent this serious social injustice – their futures depend on it.

Please sign the Save the Children petition

“Growing up in poverty risks condemning kids to a lifetime of disadvantage. They’re likely to be less healthy; do less well at school and so find it harder to get well paid work.

That’s why, with your help, we want UK political leaders to commit, before the General Election next year, to give children a fair start.

Sign our petition to UK political leaders today.

Together, we can help give every child in the UK a fair start in life.”

Save The Children
http://www.savethechildren.org.uk/donate/actions/lets-give-every-child-uk-fair-start

Also write to your MP: http://www.parliament.uk/about/contacting/mp/

The Government has a statutory requirement, enshrined in the Child Poverty Act 2010 , to end child poverty by 2020. However, it is predicated that by 2020/21 another 1 million children will be pushed into poverty as a result of the Coalition Government’s policies.

http://www.barnardos.org.uk/what_we_do/our_projects/child_poverty/child_poverty_what_is_poverty/child_poverty_statistics_facts.htm

Here are recommendations from End Childhood Poverty concerning the steps the government should have taken to end poverty by 2020:

In order to halve child poverty by 2010, the Government needs to improve benefits and child tax credits, in addition to providing better housing. To achieve this, the Government must take the following actions:

Ensure adequate incomes for families – by the end of 2010, the Government needs to spend £4 billion on benefits and child tax credits.

Ensure an adequate home for every child – by the end of 2010, the Government needs to ensure that 20,000 additional social rented homes per year have been built to lift 154,000 children out of bad housing.

In order for child poverty to be eradicated by 2020, the Government needs to redistribute more to the poorest families and invest more in the services that support them. To achieve this, the Government must take the following actions to secure decent work for all and a good education for every child:

Read More:
http://www.endchildpoverty.org.uk/our-campaign – All political parties signed up to the 2010 Child Poverty Act. Most certainly it is clear the present government has not and is unlikely to meet this target as more and more children sink into poverty.

Here is what Cameron said about poverty back in 2006:

 “I believe that poverty is an economic waste, a moral disgrace.

“That’s not enough. We need to think of poverty in relative terms – the fact that some people lack those things which others in society take for granted.

“So I want this message to go out loud and clear – the Conservative Party recognises, will measure and will act on relative poverty.”

“In the past we used to think of poverty in absolute terms – meaning straightforward material deprivation.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/6179078.stm

Instead of improving benefits and providing better housing the present government have done the exact opposite with the disastrous effect of increasing poverty.

So instead of being well on the way to eradicating poverty there is an alarming increase in poverty here in the UK that most definitely fulfills the above definition. To begin with the rise in food banks is both an obvious and a significant indication of poverty with a 400% rise in people using food banks in 2013/14 compared to 2012/13.  According to the Trusslle Trust benefit delays, low income and benefit changes have been the primary referral causes  between 2013 -2014

Another indicator of poverty is that many people are no longer able to heat their homes or even in some cases cook their food – as shocking as it may seem there are people who have returned food to food banks because they cannot afford the cost of the electricity to heat the food donated to them. An outrageous mix of low wages, benefit reforms and greedy energy companies whose unbridled unregulated greed knows no bounds despite the 30, 000 who died of cold during the winter of 2012/2013:
http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/nov/26/winter-deaths-rose-third

Concerning poverty among children, teachers have noticed an ever-increasing number of pupils coming to school hungry. According to a recent report in April of this year teachers are having to bring in food to give their pupils breakfast every day because they are too hungry and exhausted to learn as a result of poverty as a consequence of the government’s social and economic reforms. Housing is yet another problem with many children having lost their homes and living in bed and breakfast accommodation and hostels. Teachers report children are attending school indeqately dressed, hugging radiators to keep warm

One teacher from a school only fifteen miles from where Cameron lives said:

“Children are coming to school too tired to concentrate because they could not sleep as their bedroom is cold,” he added. “As teachers we know that a hungry child cannot concentrate on his or her learning – the brain needs fuel to operate properly.”

Another teacher asked about the impact of poverty at their school said:

“Pupils who are complaining of feeling sick because they’re so hungry in lessons, some students with poor personal hygiene due to family issues at home, some teachers leaving food in the classrooms for certain students as they know they won’t have eaten either breakfast that morning or possibly tea the night before.

Read more:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/a-quarter-of-teachers-bring-food-into-school-to-help-hungry-pupils-9270143.html

There is no doubt that poverty in a very real way is prevalent in twenty-first century UK and children are today the shocking face of poverty in shameful Britain as cuts to benefits, low wages and the soaring cost of living have coalesced to plunge millions of families into poverty. The benefit cap alone will be responsible for reducing 200,000 children to a state of poverty in the next year or two. The cap, a limited annual increase of working age benefits to a puny one percent rise annually, is in effect a reduction in benefits in relation to the increases in the cost of living and increases in wages – albeit for most people minimal and even non existent. As a result of reducing the once annual cost of living increase to a mere one percent, as the years progress the value of working age benefits will be reduced.

The government has admitted its policy of capping increases in benefits will result in around 200,000 more children being in relative income poverty by 2015-16. The information has emerged in a written answer in Parliament from a junior DWP minister.
Read more:
http://www.poverty.ac.uk/news-stories-child-poverty-government-cuts/extra-200000-children-poverty-due-benefit-cap

The bedroom tax is yet another cut to benefits that have left families struggling.

Back in March 2013 the archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby warned Duncan Smith that planned changes to the benefits system will be damaging for children and families.

“As a civilised society, we have a duty to support those among us who are vulnerable and in need. When times are hard, that duty should be felt more than ever, not disappear or diminish. It is essential that we have a welfare system that responds to need and recognises the rising costs of food, fuel and housing.

“The current benefits system does that, by ensuring that the support struggling families receive rises with inflation.

“These changes will mean it is children and families who will pay the price for high inflation, rather than the government.”

Read More:
Benefits changes will push children into poverty, says archbishop of Canterbury
http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2013/mar/10/benefits-children-poverty-archbishop-canterbury-welby

Research undertaken by Save the Children says that by 2020 five million children in Britain could be “sentenced to a lifetime of poverty” because of welfare reforms, including the bedroom tax, which have left millions of families struggling to meet the ever rising cost of living.

Despite the fact that all political parties have committed to ending child poverty by 2020 the report found that not only is this target unlikely to be met but the number of children living in poverty could actually rise by 1.4 million by the target date. Justin Forsyth( Save the Children’s CEO) said:

“The current all-party commitments to social security cuts in the next Parliament combined with underlying labour market trends and inflation mean no party has a coherent plan to avoid this crisis. Our political class is sleepwalking towards the highest levels of child poverty since records began while promising to eradicate it completely.

Read more at: http://www.savethechildren.org.uk/2014-05/five-million-uk-children-could-be-trapped-poverty-2020#sthash.AIu23HUf.dpuf

One of the many and continuing tragedies of the government’s vicious welfare reform is the effect it is having on children giving them an unfair start in life.

“The study, A Fair Start for Every Child, was undertaken by Landman Economics and added projected social security cuts to existing Institute for Fiscal Studies estimates.

The UK remains one of the most unfair countries in the developed world – the lottery of birth still determines millions of children’s chances in life,” it warns. And by 2020 child poverty could “be around the highest ever recorded in the UK… the highest for a generation. The face of poverty in the UK will be that of a child, usually within a working family.”

Read More:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/the-real-costoflivingcrisis-five-million-british-children-face-life-of-poverty-thanks-to-welfare-reforms-9442061.html

An earlier report last year from the national Children’s Bureau finds that, in many respects, childhood poverty is now a bigger problem than during the 1960s, when it carried out a seminal study, Born to Fail?

The report compares aspects of children’s lives today to data from the Born to Fail? cohort study of 11-year-olds, carried out in 1969. It finds that significantly more children are growing up in relative poverty today – 3.6 million compared with 2 million – and claims that these children suffer “devastating consequences throughout their lives”.

It adds: “Today, although there have been some improvements, overall the situation appears to be no better, and in some respects has got worse.”

The report finds that:

■ A child from a disadvantaged background is still far less likely to achieve a good level of development at four than a child from a more privileged home.

■ Children living in deprived areas are much more likely to be the victim of an unintentional injury or accident in the home.

■ Children from the poorest areas are nine times less likely than those living in affluent areas to have access to green space, places to play and to live in environments with better air quality.

■ Boys living in deprived areas are three times more likely to be obese than boys growing up in affluent areas, and girls are twice as likely.

“Our analysis shows that, despite some improvements, the inequality and disadvantage suffered by poorer children 50 years ago still persists today,” said Dr Hilary Emery, the bureau’s chief executive.

“There is a real risk that our society is sleepwalking into a world where children grow up in a state of social apartheid, with poor children destined to experience hardship and disadvantage just by accident of birth, and their more affluent peers unaware of their existence.”

Read More:
Child poverty in Britain is causing ‘social apartheid’
Report from leading British charity blames ‘failure of political will’ as it finds poor children have fewer life chances
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/aug/24/child-poverty-social-apartheid-ncb

Low wages are another factor in childhood poverty and most children in poverty and on benefits live in working households.

Ten facts about childhood poverty

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We know from our work with some of the country’s most disadvantaged families that the overwhelming majority of people who get benefits really need them; whether they are working, looking for work or unable to work. Back in September we were one of five charities that helped launched the Who Benefits? campaign, to make sure those who need support from benefits aren’t ignored, misrepresented or, at worst, blamed for their situation.

Read More:
http://www.childrenssociety.org.uk/news-views/our-blog/benefits-street-and-10-facts-about-childhood-poverty

Please sign the petition above if you have not already done so. Also consider writing to your MP.

During the last four years many people here in the UK have been forced into poverty as a result of the coalition’s polices, most particularly welfare reforms. The worrying thing is Labour, with the exception of the bedroom tax, have made no promises concerning the reversal of the devastating welfare reforms imposed upon the most vulnerable of people in our society. It is a disgrace that in twenty-first century UK few people stand up for what is right when serious violations of human rights are imposed upon their fellow citizens.

 

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