So, you’re 28, a single parent with three kids, renting a flat in a bad area, acquiring toys and clothes for your little ones second hand for little or no money, living on minimum wage and working just 16 hours a week? (source: BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat)
Well, says the government, if we raise tax a little more…
In the UK today there seems to be a greater interest being taken in politics. There are currently huge overhauls being made to various societal features that seriously affect the everyday running of people’s lives.
Some of the main issues we are facing regard child poverty.
It was revealed just the other day that a shocking number of children are still living well below the poverty line – an estimated 2.8 million in the UK. The severity of these figures have prompted childrens charity Save the Children to launch their first ever campaign for youngsters in within the UK, having previously only raised money for projects in places like Africa.
It is thought that one in eight UK children go without at least one hot meal a day and one in seven will go without a warm winter coat or proper shoes because their parents simply cannot afford to pay for them. There are even parents choosing alternative lifestyles in order to eat more cheaply, living vegetarian to cut out the rising price of meat and 80% admitting borrowing money for essentials such as food and clothes. (source: Savethechildren.com)
The coalition has sanctioned that to be considered able to keep your family out of the “impoverished” category you must be earning at least £17,000 a year. It transpires that up to 60% of the families worst affected by the budget cuts and tax increases are living below these standards and have been struggling to keep up since the recession hit. Where they might once have lived a comfortable lifestyle, job losses and pay freezes have meant that families have fallen on harder times. In times when the entire country is struggling ways not previously thought of it might be an idea for the government to reassess their borders what it actually means to be “impoverished”.
More needs to be done to help these children, that much is certain. The uncertainty then, lies in what?
Measures are being considered to raise taxes for top earners, but this policy is unpopular within wealthier voters – and really, who can blame them for voicing their complaints?
Another would be to add taxes to various amenities and spread the cost over the good departments; but again, this is deeply unpopular, this time within the “squeezed middle-class”, who seem to be getting lumped with a whole load of added strain that could scarcely be afforded to begin with. To raise the cost of food again would most likely see the numbers of impoverished children increase yet again, yet to raise the price of sports and leisure facilities would be destructive to all the good done at the London Olympic and Paralymic Games this summer, ultimately obliterating any profit of benefit they stand to make to our health and economy.
It is a tricky mine-field to negotiate, for sure.
Another question we must ask is; what happens when they get older? What happens when those youngsters we keep healthy in the mean time grow up and find that, without the thinly veiled charity from friends and relatives or the support of organisations such as Save the Children or schools, there are no jobs for them to be able to support themselves?
Such realisations should be made in Parliament that it is not just amendments to the current treatment of our nations poorest parents that need to be made, it is preventative measures that need to be put in place to ensure this cycle does not extend to yet another generation.
Here are some links for more information on this, if you are so inclined to investigate:
Telegraph Cal Flyn 5th September Child poverty: minimum wage ‘does not meet basic costs of raising children’
Telegraph Cal Flyn 6th September Child Poverty, Mapped