RESEARCH by charity ‘Save the Children’ has found that between 2004 and 2008, an additional 260,000 children were pushed into severe poverty in the UK, raising the number of children in severe poverty to 1.7 million.
The charity defined severe poverty as living on less than £12,220 per year for a couple with one child.
The increase represented a proportional increase from 11 per cent to 13 per cent of all children.
The 2004-2008 years were when the Blairite paradise for bankers – with credit cards being handed out like confetti – turned into the banking crash which rammed itself home in September 2007 in the UK, when Northern Rock went bust, and queues of depositors formed outside the bank desperate to get their money back.
The ‘Save the Children’ report also found that England accounted for most of the UK increase, and that London had the biggest proportion of children living in severe child poverty, accounting for around one-fifth (more than 300,000) of all children living in severe poverty in the UK.
Almost half the children in severe poverty were in single-parent families or families claiming Jobseeker’s allowance, the study found.
‘Save the Children’ director of UK programmes Fergus Drake commented: ‘It’s shocking that at a time when the UK was experiencing unprecedented levels of wealth the number of children living in severe poverty actually increased.’
In Northern Ireland, 8% of children are extremely poor. In Scotland it is 9% while in England it is 19%, and in Wales it is 15% (96,000).
Children from Bangladeshi, Pakistani and black African families are three times more likely to be in severe poverty than white families, according to the research, but ‘white British’ still make up the majority, around 70 per cent.
This situation is bad enough, but with a government in office whose main concern is keeping bankers in the luxury that they have become accustomed to, the numbers of young people in severe poverty is set to accelerate to Victorian era proportions.
A savage increase in the cost of living is now under way, with oil, petrol, gas and electricity prices rocketing.
Inflation is on the march upwards, towards first four and then five per cent, with food prices and fares leading the way.
At the same time, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Darling, is demanding that public sector workers accept cuts in wages, and is warning them that if they don’t they will lose their jobs.
He is threatening to turn workers and their families into paupers!
His friends the bankers are looking more and more like the Bourbons in the days before the French revolution. They are now complaining that because of the public hostility, they have been compelled to cap their individual bonus to £1 million! – poverty indeed.
Their friends in business are baying that because of the risk that the pound will collapse, due to Brown’s rescue of the banks, there must be a decade of austerity.
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development is demanding that the government impose an immediate freeze of public sector pay, abolish the statutory retirement age of 65 to enable people to work till they drop, make the long-term unemployed over 50 years of age work for their benefit, and freeze the minimum wage for youth.
The ruling class is determined to pauperise the working class and make it pay the full cost of Brown’s bank rescue operation.
Under these conditions the numbers of poverty-stricken young people can only double and treble.
The only way that this can be prevented is through the building up of the Workers Revolutionary Party to lead the British socialist revolution to bury British capitalism.