Socialist Worker

Child poverty flourishes here

Issue No. 1701

Britain among worst in Europe

Child poverty flourishes here

MILLIONS OF youngsters in Britain are trapped in conditions that are amongst the worst in Europe and the industrialised world. That is the message of a new United Nations (UN) report which has condemned the level of child poverty in Britain. Nearly 20 percent of young people in Britain live in families that are below the official poverty line.

Britain has a worse record than Turkey, Poland and Hungary. Out of the 19 countries surveyed by the UN, Britain came 14th. Somewhere between three and four million children in this country live in poverty. The number of poor lone parent families is high, the number of households without any work is high, and the number of people on low wages or low benefits is high.

As a result many kids survive on a diet of little more than beans on toast. Many live with damp running down the walls, and poor heating. Their parents cannot afford to buy them new clothes because every available penny is spent on food.

Blair says he wants to eradicate childhood poverty "within a generation". But, as the report makes clear, New Labour's strategy of "welfare to work" will not achieve this objective.

Blair's poor record

THE CHILD Poverty Action Group says:

  • Nearly 2.5 million children live in households where Income Support is the only money coming in.
  • 63 percent of children in lone parent households live in poverty.

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Article information

Sat 17 Jun 2000, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1701
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