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From The Socialist newspaper, 20 June 2012

The child poverty mirage

Many people may have been pleasantly surprised recently to see in newspaper headlines that "child poverty is down". Is this a rare success for the Con-Dems' social strategy? Do cuts really encourage the 'big society' to solve all our problems? But just a little further reading showed the latest figures were nothing to get excited about.

In 2010-11 there were 2% (300,000) less children classed as living in poverty than the previous year. But the main reason for this is that child poverty is calculated based on the number of children in households with below 60% of the median income - which was down 13 per week from the year before.

So the great success is... everyone has got poorer so the very very poor aren't quite so far behind the rest any more. Many of those children claimed to have been lifted out of poverty have seen no change in their circumstances whatsoever.

And even using this lower figure, 18% of children - that's 2.3 million - still live in poverty. When housing costs are included, 3.6 million children are living in poverty. Almost two-thirds of households accepted as homeless last year had children. Unsurprisingly given the government's attacks on jobs, wages, benefits and children's services, there's no chance of hitting the target of eradicating child poverty by 2020.

Contrary to work and pensions minister Iain Duncan Smith's comments suggesting that the solution for these families is for the parents to "get a job" (there aren't enough) it's not just the unemployed we're talking about - 61% of children in poverty have working parents, up from 45% in the mid 1990s.

The problem is not a "cycle of dependency", it's not "problem families". The problem is a society run in the interests of a tiny rich minority rather than democratically planned to meet the needs of the overwhelming majority.

The Socialist Party fights for a socialist society where we can achieve full employment, decent wages and massive investment into desperately needed services to make sure no child is balancing on the breadline.

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In The Socialist 20 June 2012:


Socialist Party news and analysis

Fight their profit system

2012 earth summit

British economy: "black cloud overhead"

Leveson inquiry - The 1%: "definitely in this together"

Flight of the rats

The child poverty mirage

Them & Us


International socialist news and analysis

Greece election - majority vote against austerity

Egypt's military instigates a 'soft coup'


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Join in the Austerity Games!

Gloucestershire: Countywide protests to stop NHS sell-off

Bus bosses can't stop the Socialist!

Support the final sprint to the fighting fund quarter finish line


Socialist Party workplace news

Striking at Fords to defend pensions

Five hundred food processing workers strike in Leicester

Packed Coryton refinery meeting backs action to win

Support the London bus strike

UCU: Time to fight on pay and pensions

Improved offer in Metro workers' pay fight

Workplace news in brief


Trade union conferences

GMB delegates question link to Labour

Unite needs strategy to step up fight against austerity

Unison conference: members show anger at pensions 'offer'

Fighting teachers' association network launched


Socialist Party review

Secret History of the Streets, Deptford High Street


 

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