At What Point Does This Become Unacceptable?

5th April 2018 / United Kingdom
At What Point Does This Become Unacceptable?

By TruePublicaBy 2021, which is just 3 years away, it is estimated that austerity will have thrown an extra 1.5 million children into poverty. The government have been warned time and again that child poverty is rapidly increasing after two decades of declining numbers. However, their leading policy of grinding austerity is having devastating consequences for millions across Britain, set to get much worse. Even the mainstream press find these harrowing daily reports of the crisis of daily life too much to ignore.


(That is, of course, except the hate-filled and divisive narratives spewed out from the Daily Mail that continues to support the policies of a largely rich and wealthy political class, who frankly, couldn’t care about civil society. They stood out alone with this headline – “How sickening that teachers and doctors are weaponising schools and hospitals by peddling their myths about poverty.”)

However,  The Independent reported that children are stuffing food into their pockets and turn up to school in dirty uniforms as poverty worsens.  Even the right-wing Telegraph has had to admit that “Teachers are having to wash children’s clothes and lend their parents money.”


The Joseph Rowntree Foundation 2017 Poverty Report makes for truly appalling reading and ministers should hold their heads in shame as to its findings. There are now 14 million people living in poverty in the UK – over one in five of the population. This is made up of eight million working-age adults, four million children and 1.9 million pensioners. 8 million live in families where at least one person is in work. As mentioned, child poverty is set to rise by an astonishing 38 percent in just another three years, which already puts one in every three children across the land in this dreadful position.

Significantly, the JRF report includes data that shows poverty declining for two decades until 2011 when the numbers go straight into reverse.


Here are excerpts from a recent The Guardian report that highlights the struggle of daily life for so many of Britain’s youngsters:


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“Extreme child poverty is worsening across the UK, with schools increasingly forced to fill in the gaps being left by councils and social services budget cuts, school leaders have said.

Headteachers from schools in deprived areas of England, Wales and Northern Ireland say they are having to provide basic services such as washing school uniforms for pupils from poor households, and are even paying for budget advice and counselling services for parents.

Teachers and school leaders also said they were regularly providing sanitary products such as tampons for pupils, buying shoes and coats in winter, and in some cases giving emergency loans in cash to families.


In the survey of 900 teachers, 60% said child poverty in schools had worsened since 2015, and one in three said it had got significantly worse.


Benefit entitlement rules are shutting more and more families out of the system,” said Jane Jenkins, the headteacher of an inner-city primary school in Cardiff.

“It is really tough. When people are asking you about standards and why a school is not higher in the league tables, often that is very much a secondary consideration for us these days.


Howard Payne, the headteacher of a primary school in Portsmouth, said: “Over the last 18 months the number of child protection issues I have seen has increased fourfold – and I’m in a small school. Every single one of those issues has been related to poverty, debt, not eating enough, and that has increased dramatically.” 


Several school leaders said they had noticed a visible difference in health and stature between children from their schools in deprived areas and those from better-off areas.

One headteacher from a school in Cumbria, who did not want to be named, said she was shocked to witness the differences between former pupils from her school and those from other primaries.





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