More and more children are going hungry in Britain. Around half of teachers regularly see pupils in their class suffering signs of malnutrition.
Charities have seen a sharp uptake in demand for pre-school breakfast clubs. Just missing breakfast can leave children lethargic, stressed and unable to concentrate. One school in Bristol reported that 40 percent of its first aid referrals were caused by lack of breakfast.
Children’s charity Kids Company estimates that a million children don’t know where their next meal will come from. They typically get just ten meals a week.
It’s not surprising that parents are struggling to afford food for their children. Food and energy prices are rising while wages are frozen, benefits are cut and jobs are lost.
But not everyone sees it that way. The Daily Mail newspaper blamed “chaotic parenting” for the hunger. Responses have focused on how to control the parents’ behaviour.
This ranges from support for the idea of “parents’ licence” courses to calls for benefits to be paid in food vouchers instead of cash.
There is a long history of the rich trying to divide the poor into the “deserving” and “undeserving”. They do this in order to use poverty and charity as tools to lecture, demoralise and control the masses they fear and resent.
Instead of blaming the parents, we should blame this rotten system that keeps people in poverty.