The Myth of Child Poverty

There is much talk in left wing political circles about child poverty and ways to overcome it. No reasonable person wants to see a child live in, or bought up in poverty, but the whole idea of child poverty is a misnomer, it’s a fallacy, it's an euphemism it’s a lie. There is no such thing as child poverty. Children who live in poverty are poor because the adults who bring them up are poor. Adult poverty, parental poverty, is the real issue. But lefties can't tackle parental poverty because to do so would put them in the same camp as the right wing Tories who advocate benefit reform. Benefit reform is and always will be anathema to the left. Helping (rather than punishing) people on benefit will always be anathema to the right.

The left-wing think tank The Institute for Public Policy Research, has decided that one way of tackling child poverty would be to offer the equivalent of free school meals to children in community centers during school holidays (totally impractical in rural areas, of course) because the parents of those children who have free school meals in term time can't find the extra money to feed their kids a decent meal during holiday times (especially the long summer holidays). Sounds good in theory, but in reality it would just tighten the benefits trap.

The IPPR make a fair point, but wouldn't the sensible answer be to scrap free school meals altogether and give those on benefits an extra £14 per child per week 52 weeks a year in order to enable them to pay for school dinners and to buy food for their kids' lunches during holiday times?

Benefit dependency is the biggest cause of the parental poverty that causes child poverty. Benefit Plus - free dental care, free school meals, housing benefit, community care grants etc is the biggest cause of the benefits trap that maintains benefit dependency. Until both left and right accept that benefits need to be increased to a level that overcomes the need for Benefit Plus, the benefit trap will remain, parental poverty will remain and child poverty will never be defeated.

1 comment:

  1. Whose to say that feckless parents will spend that extra £14 on their kids.

    We need to take a leaf out of Clinton's 1996 Welfare Reforms - they seem to have worked in reducing child poverty despite the hand-wringing of the left who claimed they were too harsh, certainly tougher than anything proposed in Britain even by the right.