Articles  •  Britain  •  Youth

New report in ‘cuts cause poverty’ shock

14 January 2012

Have you noticed that the Con-Dems’ have stopped insisting ‘we’re all this together’? A new report showing child poverty rates spiralling as cuts hit the poorest families hardest might help explain why.
The report, published by the Campaign to End Child Poverty tells a tale of two cities in Leeds. Child poverty rates in the poorest areas of the city are more than 10 times higher than in the wealthiest.
In Harewood only 4% of children are said to live below the poverty line, in contrast to Hyde Park and Woodhouse with rates of 46%.
Just over 1 in 5 (21%) children in Leeds lives in a state of poverty.
Earlier this week David Cameron could be found basking in reflected glory at a party held to celebrate a record fundraising drive by Children in Need. Meanwhile his government is carrying out the most savage redistribution of wealth from poor to rich in generations.
With unemployment continuing to rise, with inflation and pay freezes destroying wages, the gulf between a super-wealthy elite and an impoverished majority is approaching levels not seen since Victorian times. Vital services like Sure Start are slashed, with no thought for the devastating social and financial butchers’ bill these cuts are piling up for today’s young people.
Faced with these statistics, many people simply say ‘that’s not poverty – real poverty is in Africa’. But the wretched condition of millions in Africa should not be an excuse for inequality in the 6th richest country in the world. This kind of argument plays into the hands of the idle, parasitic rich. By dividing resistance to job losses, closures and spending cuts the richest 1% have seen their wealth increase by 50% in the last year alone.
The poverty line depends on whether you’re a single parent and how many children you have, but for example if you were a single parent with two children between the ages of 5 and 14, anything under £256 a week is below the poverty line.
This has to cover the cost of housing, bills, food, clothes, transport before any is available for disposable income.
The statistics show that the majority of people in poverty are not the lazy scroungers of government propaganda, but working families, trapped in insecure jobs, with few rights and poverty pay.
A single person over 21 working a 40-hour week on the minimum wage would take home £246. This is topped up by housing benefits and Working Tax Credits. So instead of making bosses pay us a wage we can live on, they just use our taxes to subsidise wages, to the profit of the capitalists.
As Sure Start and other youth services are cut, families are under increasing pressure to fit work around the childcare they can access or afford. With young people making up more than 1/3 of the unemployed, we are placed in the situation of being unable to live independently, yet remaining a financial burden on our parents.
It is not only direct cuts to youth services which keeps millions of children in poverty. Widespread cuts to services for the elderly and disabled means struggling families face stark choices over what they afford. While the financial savings of cuts can be found in Swiss banks, the human cost will be counted on our doorstep.
From Nigeria to Bradford, capitalism is constantly impoverishing the very people whose labour it relies on. Just as  British companies, backed up by British armies, plunder the resources of Africa and the Middle East, so British bosses are plundering the wealth of their ‘own’ workers. From the NHS to pensions to wages, the working class is facing the theft of their personal and social wealth, in the name of belt-tightening and ‘austerity’.
The survival of such a system is ensured only as long as there is not a force strong enough to overthrow it. The working class, poor famers, and youth of the world are the only force with the interest and power to overcome the system which exploits them.
Revolution fights as part of the international working class and youth movement to organise young people in the struggle against capitalism, and for socialist democracy and equality.
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