Tuesday, March 31, 2009

poor kids

The previous blog exposed how capitalism neglects the old , Barnados , the child charity have released some interesting facts .

  • There are currently 3.9 million children living in poverty in the UK, that's almost a third of all children. Families living in poverty have only about £10 per day per person to buy everything they need such as food, heating, toys, clothes, electricity and transport. Two adults and two children needs to have £346 each week in order to be above the poverty line?
  • For those families in the bottom twenty percent of the income distribution, almost 1 in 5 can't afford to have their friends over for tea or a snack once a fortnight.
  • One third of British children are forced to go without at least one of the things they need, such as three meals a day or adequate clothing.
  • Over 90 percent of low income parents say they often go without to ensure their children have enough.
  • Nearly two thirds of families have struggled to find a job which pays enough for their family to live on.
  • By the age of six, a less able child from a rich family is likely to have overtaken an able child born into a poor family.
  • Poor children are only a third as likely to get 5 GCSEs at A* to C than those from richer backgrounds.

Poverty, say Barnados, wrecks lives and children living in poverty are more likely to end up homeless, develop drug addiction or alcoholism or become victims of crime. When these children grow into adulthood they are more likely to suffer ill health, be unemployed, commit offences and themselves get into abusive relationships.

The Government promised they'd half child poverty by 2010 and eradicate it by 2020 , yet one year away from the 2010 target for the last two years the numbers of children living in poverty has gone up, not down

The Socialist Party has always claimed that poverty cannot be eliminated simply by governements waving a magic wand .Back in April 02 the Economist commented that " To cut the number of poor children by around a million would cost as much as £6.1billion. The pledge to reduce child poverty is proving to be an expensive one." , whereupon, the SPGB said- " Socialists would say not just expensive. Because it relies on the uncertainties of the market system and the use of money, the hope of any Labour government ending child poverty is impossible. Labour and Tory governments having been making the same promise for many years and they have all failed."

Barnados is one of those tireless organisations whose members earnestly toil to expose the extent and the effects of deeper deprivation among people, only to spoil it all by suggesting remedies, like increasing state benefits or various other reforms , which have been shown to be ineffective and unrealistic. Socialists argue that all reformist activity is subject to the changing nature of capitalism. To fight the same old welfare reform battles over several decades is demoralising enough, but when previous reforms are put into reverse the case against the system which puts profits before needs is stronger than ever.

Poverty is an inescapable part of capitalist society. It can be abolished, but only when there is a fundamental change in how we organise society. That is way beyond any policies or even concepts of the Labour Party. The means to end poverty are with us now. They have been with us for a hundred years or more. That has, though, gone unnoticed, and the working class have gone on supporting Labour, and thus supporting capitalism. Who, perhaps, could blame them, when the only alternative appeared to be offered by the Leninist left, who offered the same as Labour ? .

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