Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Children paying too high a price

Under the previous Labour government Child poverty was greatly reduced this was down to state intervention. Labour knew that by intervening to provide extra cash through tax credits, cash transfers and accessible public services played a key role in reducing child poverty in the UK and protecting children from deprivation.

Today Unicef has published a report that says progress in protecting children from deprivation 'will be undermined by spending cuts',  this independent report suggests that much of the good work that Labour did to address child poverty is being undermined by the Conservative government. Government cuts that are short sighted that are too deep, this with the double-dip recession created by the government by their ill judged austerity drive will actually push more children and families below the breadline.

The report says "Failure to protect children from poverty is one of the most costly mistakes a society can make. The heaviest cost of all is borne by the children themselves. But their nations must also pay a very significant price – in reduced skills and productivity, in lower levels of health and educational achievement, in increased likelihood of unemployment and welfare dependence, in the higher costs of judicial and social protection systems, and in the loss of social cohesion. The economic argument, in anything but the shortest term, is therefore heavily on the side of protecting children from poverty."

Matthew Reed, chief executive of the Children's Society, said: "It would be a grave injustice if we allowed the burden of the current economic turmoil to fall on the shoulders of disadvantaged children."

The Child Poverty Action group states;

There are 3.8 million children living in poverty in the UK today. That’s 29 per cent of children, or more than one in four

Work does not provide a guaranteed route out of poverty in the UK. Almost two-thirds (58 per cent) of children growing up in poverty live in a household where at least one member works

Child poverty imposes costs on broader society – estimated to be at least £25 billion a year. Governments forgo prospective revenues as well as commit themselves to providing services in the future if they fail to address child poverty in the here and now

Child poverty reduced dramatically between 1998/9-2010/11 when 900,000 children were lifted out of poverty. This reduction is credited in large part to measures that increased the levels of lone parents working, as well as real and often significant increases in the level of benefits paid to families with children

Under current government policies, child poverty is projected to rise from 2012/13 with an expected 300,000 more children living in poverty by 2015/16. This upward trend is expected to continue with 3.3 million children projected to be living in poverty by 2020

It is clear investing in children creates a more equal and fair country, it offers more opportunities and less chance of dependency, only a conservative government would be so blind to the case for investing in children.

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