Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Failing the Children Again

The number of UK children living in "severe poverty" rose in the four years before the recession Save the Children says
The number of children in homes in this category rose 260,000 to 1.7m from 2004 to 2008. The report warns there is a danger that severe poverty could rise even further.

The government defines relative low-income poverty as less than 60% of contemporary household median income, and absolute low-income poverty as less than 60% of 1998/99 median household income. However, Save the Children defines severe poverty as those living in households with incomes of less than 50% of the UK median income (disregarding housing costs) and who were also missing some basic possessions, such as a winter coat.

Save the Children calculated there were 1.46 million children in what they call severe poverty in 2004-05. Four years later the number had risen to 1.7 million. The charity claims that at the end of 2008, 13% of the UK's children were living in severe poverty, up two percent on 2004 . The report predicts the recession is likely to have increased severe poverty by a further 100,000 children.

Efforts to reduce child poverty have not just stalled, they have actually gone into reverse.

Save the Children's director of UK programmes Fergus Drake said: "It's shocking that at a time when the UK was experiencing unprecedented levels of wealth the number of children living in severe poverty - we're talking about children going without a winter coat, a bed and other day-to-day essentials - actually increased."

Poverty 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.That is the true, inescapable child abuse which children endure and which goes on to distort their lives. Politicians simply go through a pretence of improving certain features of social security but in the end it is nothing more than shadow boxing around the issue of child poverty.

No comments: