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From The Socialist newspaper, 20 January 2021

Life in lockdown - being home from school when you're poor is hard

Child home schooled

Child home schooled   (Click to enlarge)

Lizzy Hedderly, College student, Greenwich, south London

At the beginning of the first lockdown, in my house, we had one computer for three students and a parent working from home. Myself and my siblings receive pupil premium and free school meals.

I live in a single-parent household with a mum who is a student and completing voluntary work with the NHS for her psychotherapist diploma. Both of my younger brothers have special educational needs and have been attending school during this current lockdown.

When you have no money, the constant changing guidance and rules become more difficult to adjust to. If your family's income is not secure, the prospect of having everyone at home at all times has real implications.

How could they say it is as easy as just switching to online learning, when, as a young carer, I have to share the increased challenges in having my brothers at home?

A confused feeling of guilt is always around me and my mum - the feeling that you are always doing something wrong when you are being told you are never doing enough.

Food

There have been moments of relief. The scheme to provide laptops to those without meant we had another computer in the house, and I now no longer work from my phone like in the first lockdown.

The food vouchers we receive in replacement of our free school meals more than double our food budget, and are genuinely something we get excited about every two weeks.

I have strong feelings about the MPs who voted against the expansion of the scheme into school holidays. I waited for them to put forward a better, more effective short-term solution for the increase in food poverty, but of course that never came.

They ignore issues like wages and benefits being spread out across the month, as is the case with my family. It makes it impossible to save money through a large weekly or monthly shop.

Sometimes you can have what other people have. You can buy cost ineffective but healthy food like strawberries. The vouchers meant that we had a Christmas dinner that was more than the bare minimum.

But the threshold for access to these benefits is too low, and doesn't factor in increased costs like energy bills from everyone being at home.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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In The Socialist 20 January 2021:


News

Make the super-rich pay, not the poorest

Bosses profit out of 'starvation' food parcels

Teachers: On the front line, in their own words

Peace and Justice Project - no way forward for socialism

Millionaire tendency regains control of Scottish Labour

News in Brief


Covid-19

The Tory blame game: scapegoating the working class - 100% pay for all now

Covid: Bosses chase profit and put workers in danger

Vaccine confidence - a worker's response

Life in lockdown - being home from school when you're poor is hard


NHS

On the NHS front line


Black Lives Matter

Justice for Mohamud Hassan!

Police use Covid laws to intimidate BLM protesters

New Cross Gate fire 40 years ago


International News

USA in crisis - the need for a socialist alternative

Trump Twitter ban: only independent workers' voice can defeat right


Workplace

PCS Broad Left Network conference

Rolls-Royce Barnoldswick factory future secured following strike action

Morrisons - 10/hr headline hides divisive pay offer

A day in the life of an agency worker

British Gas strike continues


Students

Refund student rent and fees

Plymouth rent strike continues

Scrap fees, refund rents and pay a living grant


Campaigns

London's May elections: Tories and Labour's Khan both vying to slash public services

Socialist Party national women's meeting

Why I joined the Socialist Party

Christmas Crossword Competition


Readers' Opinion

Books that inspired me: The Road to Wigan Pier


Obituary

Obituary - Jeff Edwards


 

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Related links:

Lockdown:

triangleGetting the Socialist out in lockdown

triangleCoventry success building subscriptions

triangleJohnson's 'road map' for schools: Act together to protect safety

triangleSouthern new members meeting - a vivid illustration of the appetite for socialist ideas

triangleJaguar Land Rover: West Midlands superspreader

School:

triangleAcademy schools have become business ventures

trianglePimlico Academy protests: "Run by racists for profit"

triangleBeal academy strikers demand equal sick pay

triangleBeal High school strike as management refuse to negotiate over fair sick pay scheme

Food:

triangleBook that inspired me: God's bits of wood

triangleBooks that inspired me: The Road to Wigan Pier

triangleBosses profit out of 'starvation' food parcels

Benefits:

triangleLong Covid: Fight for jobs, benefits and services

triangleA fighting programme for women's rights and socialism

Poverty:

triangle1981 Brixton riots: Racism and poverty - the anger explodes

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