IN the same week that the capitalist banking system was exposed as a centre of criminal venality, lying and cheating in order to secure vast profits at the expense of ordinary working people, it has been reported that an estimated one million children in Britain are living with ‘food insecurity’, not knowing where their next meal will be coming from.
The economic crisis – wholly the fault of the banks – has resulted, in the 21st century, in poverty amongst vulnerable children that harks back to the Dickensian Britain of the 19th century.
According to a survey conducted by the parenting website Netmums and the child welfare charity Kids Company, one million children receive only 10 meals a week, less than half the amount needed for them to stay healthy and develop physically.
Kids Company, which was set up to provide drop-in centres for young people in London, now report that they are mainly used to provide food for children on the edge of starvation.
In the past year, the charity has seen a rise of 233% of kids with an average age of ten using their centres for the only meal of the day.
These appalling statistics mirror the findings of recent surveys carried out amongst teachers.
A recent poll of 515 teachers reported that half those polled reported regularly seeing pupils who were suffering from malnutrition.
This crisis has been accentuated by the savage cuts to the education budgets and the drive to privatise meals provision in schools.
These exercises in cost-cutting have resulted, according to the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, in tiny portions of food being sold at inflated prices in school canteens.
So bad has the situation become that a whole number of teachers in the survey reported that they had paid for food for pupils out of their own pockets.
While official government figures put one million children in ‘severe and persistent poverty’ in reality this figure is a wild underestimation.
According to the Child Poverty Action group the number falling into this category is 3.6 million, or one in four, a figure that is continually rising.
The cause is unemployment, government cuts in benefits and low pay.
According to Child Poverty Action nearly two-thirds (62%) of 3.6 million children are growing up in households where at least one parent is in employment – but on wages that simply cannot support the cost of feeding the family.
It is calculated that the cost of bailing out the banks and rescuing them from the crisis that they had created came to £1.5 trillion.
This equates to £30,000 per person in Britain, and it is now absolutely clear that this ‘rescue’ is being paid for through starving an entire generation of children.
In the week that Bob Diamond, disgraced head of Barclays bank, made it clear that he would fight for £10 million compensation for being forced out over the interest rigging scandal, the fact that millions of children are starving in order that the banks survive is nothing short of an obscenity.
It must act as a call to arms by the working class and its unions.
The fact of the matter is that this bankrupt capitalist system cannot sustain even the most elementary requirements for human life, it can only stagger on in crisis, trying to impose the most brutal conditions on workers and their families.
There can be no reform of this system, it must be ended immediately through the organisation of a general strike to bring down this government and a socialist revolution to go forward to a workers government and socialism.