Child poverty could be Tories’ Achilles heel

The Tories’ relief that the child poverty figures just published in the official Households Below Average Income (HBAI) statistics didn’t show an increase was palpable.   But that conceals the real story.   The Tories have form on this issue.   Child poverty tripled under Thatcher from 1 in 9 children to 1 in 3, but then fell by 800,000 under Labour after 1997.   Unexpectedly this trend continued initially under Cameron with a fall to 2.3 million in 2010-11 because middle class earnings declined (so that the threshold of 60% of average earnings dipped a bit) while benefits protected the poorest.   However that easing of the child poverty stigma has now come firmly to an end as a result of the housing benefit cap, the bedroom tax and the 1% cap on benefit increases.   Indeed it is now forecast, particularly if the new round of £12bn cuts is launched in the budget, that child poverty will have increased by one-third to 1 in 4 children by 2020.

Even that is not the full story.   In Opposition Cameron pledged to end the ‘moral disgrace’ of poverty.   He went further in 2006: “the Conservative party recognises, will measure and will act on relative poverty……Even if we are not destitute, we still experience poverty if we cannot afford things that society regards as essential”.   Contrast that with the Tory reaction when they believed just before the HBAI statistics were published that the child poverty figures had increased.   Were they going to ‘act on relative poverty’ to deal with a worsening situation?   No, they were going to move the goal-posts so that nothing need be done.   They were going to change the definition of poverty to take account of entrenched worklessness, family breakdown, problem debt, and alcohol and drug dependency – anything except a lack of money.

Then there is still this unidentified £12bn welfare cuts promised in the budget.   After £21bn cuts in the last Parliament, this is now much harder to make without causing real pain and destitution.   The cuts already announced – removing housing benefit from 18-21 year olds, a 2-year freeze on working-age benefits, and the reduction of the benefit cap from £26,000 to £23,000 – will only raise about £1.5bn.   So where will the remaining £10.5bn come from?

The other obvious trigger point for a big political kickback is that the budget is likely to include such provocative hand-outs to the rich as the reduction in the top rate of income tax from 45% to 40% (which is mainly a gift to millionaires) and the raising of the nil rate band for inheritance tax from £325,000 to £1 million, which will benefit exclusively the richest 6% of families in the UK and given that the surviving spouse inherits the same tax break, it’s worth £2 million in tax saving for Britain’s very richest families.

7 thoughts on “Child poverty could be Tories’ Achilles heel

  1. Hum lets see now thatchers britain has taking the milk out of our babies arms now fast forward we now have rtu ids pushing his universal credits on us broken has it is but now under this uc he can realy take us back further in time yes working all those hours on low pay ouch you are now called into your local jcp and asked whot are you doing to get off benefits next the call goes out next you see you sleeped walked into his net yep you to after working 60 are now that social scrounger next come on next back to the dark ages next jeff3

  2. Jeffery Davies_

    Can’t add much to that, Dark Ages or the Third World ?

    It pretty much amounts to exactly the same thing, if you’re poor in the UK you’re screwed.

  3. Still at least the Labor controlled councils like Manchester are holding the line on fairness, compassion decency and common sense their support for the increasing numbers of desperate and vulnerable people being made homeless by the DW&P is an example to us all.

    “If they fail to meet this injunction it could mean that they could go to prison for 2 years or face a fine of £5000. It is a city-wide injunction consequence is oppressive, unsympathetic and premature because it would mean that these homeless people have nowhere else to sleep.

    Scum and I don’t mean the homeless.

  4. Sadly compassion, common decency is not in the Tory dictionary and never will be their only objective is £sd and not for the working class or less well off.

    Thatcher went of the rails, this bunch can only be compared to Mafia, I fear for what is going to happen over the next few years.

    Do as I say not as I do and more importantly believe our lies, lets just wait and see the new definition for child poverty. Democracy what a god damn joke.

  5. Just recapitulate for emphasis and in case anyone has still missed the full implications of this.

    In the wonderful Labor controlled city of Manchester; poverty is now a criminal offense punishable by up 2 yeas in one Straws, “run for profit,” slave labor camps, (it isn’t even as if it’s a bunch of Tories that are doing this.)

  6. Ah that will be serco then with crapita helps with atos or maximus inspecting the stock ops but the worlds gone mad me me me its getting worst yet to hope this party helps hum wishfull thinking it seems with local councils now without heart turn the screw even more yes humanity isnt helping it seems that out the window reminds me of that scene in solent green I think were we fed back to feed the stock jeff3

  7. “Child poverty could be Tories’ Achilles heel”
    Hmm. The general Tory attitude seems to be that people shouldn’t have children if they can’t afford them! (Confirmed by a chat with one of my neighbours, recently). So they just don’t care. Heartless b****rds! Yes, hide the true figures by moving the goal posts; that’s their solution, never mind the poor kids.

    Another thing they’re apparently doing, is doctoring the figures regarding the number of people who have died whilst trying to claim out of work benefits. DWP/ATOS/WCA etc.
    Mike Sivier of Vox Political wasn’t getting anywhere with his Freedom of Information request so took them to court and won! First they said they wouldn’t release the figures before the election and now they’re still stalling. In Parliament, IDS recently claimed the DWP didn’t keep these figures but Cameron said they were being prepared. Isn’t there a rule about lying to parliament? I believe a complaint has been made against IDS and is being investigated.

    There was also an article about 1m more people being affected by the bedroom tax.

    Then again, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor Chris Leslie was on the Daily Politics show on Tuesday 30/6; he’s in favour of reducing the benefit cap and doesn’t seem to understand that if people on benefits get more than working people then it’s the fault of the employers who don’t pay enough! People need these amounts to pay the extortionate rents charged by some landlords, but he’s also against capping rents, possibly because he himself is a landlord! (According to The Independent of 1/6/15). Is he in the right party?

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