Madeleine Davies

Archive for September, 2012|Monthly archive page

All about the money? (Child poverty blog 2)

In Uncategorized on September 24, 2012 at 5:20 pm

“The previous Government’s focus on narrow income targets meant they poured resources into short-term fixes to the symptoms of poverty instead of focusing on the causes. We plan to tackle head-on the causes of poverty which underpin low achievement, aspiration and opportunity across generations. Our radical programme of reform to deliver social justice will focus on combating worklessness and educational failure and preventing family and relationship breakdown with the aim of supporting the most disadvantaged groups struggling at the bottom of society.”

A new approach to child poverty, Department for Work and Pensions & Department for Education, 2011

“There is no doubt that there is a very close link between the unprecedented and (nearly) sustained above-inflation increases in financial support for families with children over the past decade, and the unprecedented and (nearly) sustained fall in child poverty.”

Ending child poverty by 2020: progress made and lessons learned; CPAG June 2012

“There were signs that these children worried about asking for even the smallest amounts of money such as the 50p or a £1 that can be charged for a non-school-uniform day.”

The impact of poverty on young children’s experience of school; Goretti Horgan, JRF/Save the Children, 2007

If researching this blog has taught me anything, it’s that I’ll be very suspicious of anyone who claims to know precisely what causes child poverty.

One of the most thorny issues is that of money. There are lots of associations and links between a lack of money and a whole host of outcomes for children, but proving causation is a lot more complicated.

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“The turrets are made out of toilet rolls – genius!”

In Uncategorized on September 7, 2012 at 4:22 pm

“The fact is that thanks to the Welfare State and our benefits system, no child in Britain can possibly be said to be living in that kind of poverty — without food or heating — unless their parents are grossly misusing their handouts.”  

(Douglas Murray, The Henry Jackson Society think-tank, writing in the Daily Mail, September 2012)

Even with the benefits I receive, I find it hard to pay all the bills, and I cannot afford proper uniform or shoes for my son, so he gets picked on at school.”

(Jamelia 28, one child under 14 in This is Child Poverty, Citizens Advice Bureau, 2008)

“I’ve told them I won’t leave them with a childminder…They’re my children. I had them. I should obviously look after them and I understand yes, that I should be working and I shouldn’t be claiming money from the Government and what have you, but I will eventually go back to work and I’ll pay back, in my eyes, what I’ve had from them.”

(Megan, mother of 5 children under 13, Living with poverty, a review of children’s and families’ experiences of poverty, Tess Ridge, DWP, 2009)

Child poverty…in the UK?

This week, Save the Children launched, for the first time in its 93-year history, an appeal to alleviate poverty in the UK. The report, entitled “It Shouldn’t Happen Here”, included the results of a survey of children aged 8 to 16 in 35 schools across the UK and a survey of more than 5000 parents. It reported that “one in eight of the poorest children in the UK go without at least one hot meal a day”.

The next day, the backlash began. And not just in The Daily Mail. In The Times, Ross Clark wrote that Save the Children “should be ashamed of this propaganda” and claimed that the charity had “evolved from an aid charity into a political pressure group against cuts”. The thrust of the argument is that it is wrong to talk about poverty in the UK when famine causes children around the world to die of starvation.

Who is right?

My own family didn’t have HUGE amounts of money when I was growing up. In no way were we on the breadline but I can’t be alone in remembering avoiding asking for things at the end of the month, living in hand-me-down clothes and getting a My Little Pony Castle made of cardboard instead of the real thing (ok, that one might just be me).

From the time I was 12 we were a single-parent family. Dad working in an ok-ish paid job but with three kids to get through school.

But we always had enough to eat. We weren’t cold. We didn’t worry about losing the house. Are there really children in the UK who DO have to worry about these things?

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