It used to be that reducing child poverty was a dominant issue that was addressed in public policy. Each year when the budget would come round there would be discussion about how much the government would give towards reducing child poverty, what new initiatives are being introduced and how much the government would be spending to fight this ongoing battle.
Frustratingly, we have reached a point in time when child poverty is soaring in the UK with more time being spent arguing about Brexit than issues closer to home. Even before the beckoning of Brexit, the UK was still on a battle to reduce child poverty. In 2010, the Conservative government decided that they would put other issues ahead of tackling child poverty when in reality they should be putting the issue high up on the agenda.
Now that we are in 2019, there is no substantial evidence of serious consistent action towards the battle of child poverty in the UK. The government need to look at the facts around them about the growing levels of poverty that will affect children up and down the country.
It was alarming to see a recent exhibition run by the Foundling Museum, capturing photographs of children’s spaces in bedsits and hostels who were living in dire circumstances. The photographs showed a heartbreaking reality into the lives of those living on the poverty line and just how grim living conditions of families in poverty really are. It is appalling that some of the hostels that poverty stricken families have to live in, resemble “open prisons”. How can a child develop, learn or even be creative through play, when they don’t even have enough space to move around in?
As a mother myself, I feel for all the children out there and families who are vulnerable and are unable to get the support they need to rebuild their lives. Whilst I campaign for more to be done for countries around the world who have high levels of poverty, I fear that our own country is spiralling into turmoil and not enough is being done to combat it. Towards the end of last year it was noted that more than 14 million people, (4.5 million being children) were living below the breadline in the UK. This is a staggering figure for what is supposed to be one of the richest countries in the world.
Towards the end of 2018 an eight year old boy from Glasgow was so hungry that he was compelled to take tomato ketchup from school to eat when he got home. Knowing that a young boy who lives in the same town as me, who is also the same age as one of my children is so hungry that he has resort to having ketchup was extremely upsetting.
There needs to be more funding for food banks, child poverty organisations and initiatives to help those in need and this needs to be done with immediate affect. The longer we leave the situation the more critical it will become as there are a high percentage of people who need support who are on benefits and have other issues with debt, mental health and housing.
If the government doesn’t act now the situation will only further deteriorate and will have detrimental affects for the future generation in the years to come.