Child poverty in the UK.

My personal belief is there is no such thing. When was the last time you saw a 9 year old chimney sweep, a little girl selling matchsticks on the corner of your street or a family of 5 going through your wheeley bin in the hopes of finding some left over scraps of pizza?. It just can’t happen these days. Successive Governments, over the last hundred years, have managed to wipe out this kind of child poverty. So why do they, and, even worse, charities like Save The Children keep on trying to insist that they haven’t?.

Save the Children urges action for poorest UK children

The charity Save the Children, best known for helping some of the world’s poorest families, has launched its first appeal to help UK children.

The charity says the UK’s poorest children are bearing the brunt of the recession, with some missing out on regular hot meals or new shoes.

I notice Save The Children aren’t saying these children have no shoes or no food. Now that would be real poverty. The kind you see in India and such other places. They are just stating they don’t have enough of these things. According to whom?. There are children in the world that have never owned a single pair of shoes, new or otherwise, and others that have spent their entire lives surviving on the scraps thrown out by others. Since when did a lack of toast and new trainers make you a pauper?. For the poorest children in the UK there is already a very good system in place to ensure they are clothed and fed. It’s called the benefits system. Any parent that has a child they cannot feed is entitled to benefits. That’s one of the reasons why many believe those that are classed as living in poverty keep having more and more children that others believe they can’t afford to feed.

The charity defines living in poverty as having a family income of less than £17,000 a year.

More than half the parents in poverty surveyed (61%) said they had cut back on what they ate and more than a quarter (26%) had skipped meals in the past year.

Just under a fifth (19%) said their children sometimes had to go without new shoes when they needed them.

I bet they didn’t go without Sky, mobile phones or an x-box though?. Just because parents refuse to do without the finer things in life does not mean their children are growing up in poverty. It just means they have stupid and/or irresponsible parents. Let’s take the universal child benefit for example. 1st child gets you £20.30 a week. All further children get £13.40. So I get just about £190 per month for my three. There is no way on earth it costs me that much to feed them, which is what that benefit is for.

My weekly shop rarely exceeds £50, and that doesn’t just feed my kids, it also includes feeding me, the two dogs and covers most non edibles like loo roll, washing powder etc. My earnings pay the other living expenses, rent, utilities, car costs etc. However the nature of my work means my earnings can fluctuate and like everyone, if my washing machine breaks down, it requires some swift financial juggling to find the funds for a replacement. Washing machines are more important than sky tv. Food is more important than Sky or washing machines. It’s just a case of priorities.

There are many ways I can reduce our weekly expenditure, quite radically, if needs must. The dogs get family choice chow instead of pedigree chum and bulk bought dog biscuits. We buy cheap bread instead of Hovis (toast is toast is toast). In fact everything that can be bought cheaper, is. It doesn’t taste so good (I can’t comment on the dog food, but the dogs make their opinion quite clear). If things get really bad we resort to family choice loo roll, luckily this has only happened once or twice. The one thing I couldn’t imagine doing is choosing something, anything else over a meal for my children (hot or cold, does it really matter?). Likewise, if my children need new shoes they get them, however if they simply want new shoes they may have to wait a while.

Just because some parents actually have a list of priorities that has ‘feeding and clothing the kids’ placed well below the X-Box live subscription, the monthly mobile phone bill and Mum and Dads friday night out fund doesn’t mean we have a generation of children growing up in abject poverty. It just means we have a generation of children growing up in the care of self obsessed, spoiled bloody idiots. The way to solve this problem is not to throw even more money at them, if anything, the simpler, and far cheaper solution would be to give them less. And if the parents, and the idiots from Save The Children, start whining about how the poor, deprived children of the UK are suffering even more we could use the savings to buy them all a one way ticket to India or Mexico.

We could class it as an educational benefit, free to anyone that really thinks £17,000 a year, how ever you get it, benefits, wages or both, doesn’t leave you enough money to feed your children. Hell, I reckon there would be enough left over to buy everyone a new pair of shoes, even if they didn’t actually need them, Asdas sell them £10 a pair.


12 comments for “Child poverty in the UK.

  1. September 5, 2012 at 16:07

    My weekly shop rarely exceeds £50, and that doesn’t just feed my kids, it also includes feeding me, the two dogs and covers most non edibles like loo roll, washing powder etc.

    That’s astounding. I thought I was doing well. Just came back with meat, pizza, veg, bread, fruit, Scotch eggs, tins, fish, yoghurt [6] and stopped at the Polish shop for grechka and smetana. All up £18.

    Need to top up on Friday with maybe £7.

  2. JD
    September 5, 2012 at 16:33

    The charity defines living in poverty as having a family income of less than £17,000 a year.
    ….looks like I am living in poverty. My pension is nowhere near that 🙂
    OK, I don’t have a family to feed and I don’t spend much anyway because I have already bought everything I want/need but I wonder how they calculate these figures? Rent must be the biggest single expense for most people.

    And don’t forget we have the annual pantomime of Children In Need(sic) coming up soon.

  3. backofanenvelope
    September 5, 2012 at 18:03

    73% of UK children have a mobile phone………

  4. The Underdoug
    September 5, 2012 at 18:41

    I wonder if there should be a rule excluding households with sky from receiving Child Benefit (you have a dish, you don’t need the dosh). I’d be interested to know by how much sky is state-subsidised indirectly by benefits meant for food. I don’t know how you’d police X-box and mobile phone subscriptions, but I suppose that’s why the US came up with the idea of food stamps (although I guess that would be regarded as too humiliating over here). An idea could be a state debit card that could only be used to pay for food and household consumables (washing powder, etc) and things such as mobile phone top-ups and sky subscriptions would automatically be excluded, but the libertarian in me recoils at state interference in the spending of one’s own money, however sourced.

  5. Moggsy
    September 6, 2012 at 05:32

    Seaside. I think you are right about “Child Poverty”

    I read households are officially below the poverty line if they are living on less than 60% of the UK’s average household income, after housing costs have been paid.

    Because it is based on average income it means the goal posts are always moving and “Child Poverty” cant really ever be got rid of, unless every family earns exactly the average. Real convinient for people working for the child poverty industry.

  6. September 6, 2012 at 06:51

    I understand that there is child poverty in the UK. It comes in two main forms:

    (i) The lack of love from the child’s parents.

    (ii) The lack of an education that the child is capable of absorbing.

    Money is not everything. And, in this country, it is not lack of money that leads to the above forms of child poverty.

    Best regards

  7. Moggsy
    September 6, 2012 at 07:35

    Nigel, Maybe you have a point, but that is how the government measure it based on finances . You will be getting into the difference between equality of opportunity and equality of outcome.

    Your ii? Maybe it is me, but it seemed an odd way of putting things. You mean by that some kids get a poor education because the teaching is generally poor, or it is not basically suited to them, or maybe the environment home/neighbourhood makes learning difficult?

    Also a possible iii, there is peer pressure/subculture might be against learning. Like you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.

  8. Rossa
    September 6, 2012 at 07:42

    Good post SS. It’s relative poverty rather than absolute poverty in the UK. Always compared with what others have or haven’t got.

    As I said before, no charity will ever solve the problems they are set up to solve as if they did there would be no need for them to exist.

    Like JD says, the two (adults + 3 cats) of us here have an income of about 2/3rds of this poverty level and we manage. Our weekly shop is higher than yours but we choose to pay for better quality and we drink wine. Key word – choice. No Sky, no fags, no X-box, no fancy trainers etc. Spend money on what matters to us.

    Today it’s 2 budget tyres on the car which will cost less than one branded one. Why pay for the name and marketing of a branded product when the unbranded one does the job just as well.

  9. Seaside Sourpuss
    September 6, 2012 at 09:40

    I try to keep to a budget no matter what I’m paying for. We do have Sky but we don’t have the full sports and movie package, that’s why I pay for the internet, they can watch anything they want, when they want. Although my job requires a lot of driving, and I have 3 growing children, my car is a 20 yr old, 3 door hatch back. It is cheaper to run than my dogs. All our furniture is purchased second hand although electrical goods are always bought brand new. We get by on what we need, not what we want. This leaves us enough money for plenty of treats when the going is good and plenty of room to trim back if things get a little tight. The one thing that is never scrimped on is love, time and education. My kids are more than happy to hang out with their Old Ma. I spend a lot of time helping them with their homework (thank God for Google) and when we are not trying to figure out the inner workings of Trigonometry we can be found watching, discussing or Googling everything else from Dr Who to Hoarders to Criminal Minds to Life on Earth. There really is nothing my kids won’t hear about or see, that they won’t later want to learn about in greater detail. I take great pride in having raised children that worry about the household bills. Why shouldn’t they?. If, for whatever reason, we hit a bum month we sit down, have a chat and work out what can give. If it’s someones birthday that always takes priorty. First to go is Friday fun night (we normally have someone elses child over for take out and sleep over). Second is treats (take out pizza or a selection of sweets I’ve grabbed for them on the school run). Third is Sky, the internet and my daughters mobile top up. Fourth is swapping what we like for what we can have (nice stuff for own brand). If things are really, really bad, fifth is Andrex *shudder*. Have you ever actually used family choice loo roll.

  10. September 6, 2012 at 10:44

    ASDA do a soft loo roll and some of the own brand beans are not too bad. Where I’ll pay out is for the meat and fish – don’t want to compromise there. Nor on buckwheat, sour cream and other goodies from the Polish shop – they need to be authentic.

    Though there’s one of these coffee machines here [donated to the cause] which occupy the best part of a bench and I love good coffee, the pound shop runs Maxwell house cappuccino. I wouldn’t drink the straight coffee but as a cappuccino, it’s maybe 80% the taste of Costa but costs 12p per sachet.

    Suppose we all prioritize that way. The bottom line, as you say, is that we are nowhere near destitute unless it’s something in us preventing reasonable living. This flat is light and clean and the food is all fresh and takes time preparing. British water on the whole is drinkable from the tap [though I still boil it first] and I’m on the internet with unlimited access.

    3rd world? That’s a joke.

Comments are closed.