As the excellent @Rachael_Swindon blog has pointed out this evening, while Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn wants to abolish child poverty, the Tories have admitted that they intend to abolish the Child Poverty Unit – the civil service organisation intended to measure, understand and resolve the causes of child poverty.
Ironically, after a seemingly-unending run of missed targets on everything from economic performance to immigration to NHS waiting times, this decision comes as the Tories finally meet – and in fact, massively exceed – one. Unfortunately, it’s one that no sane, feeling person would have wanted to see hit – but for the Tories it’s enough simply to sweep it under the carpet by abolishing the unit that monitored and fought it.
Almost 4 years ago, in January 2013, this blog covered the admission by then Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Esther McVey, that Tory attacks on benefits would push 200,000 more children into poverty.
But in fact, the same debate in the Commons extracted another admission from Mrs McVey – the fact that some 300,000 children in poverty are simply excluded from measurement. This figure is likely to be higher now, as the 300,000 then was a function of low wages – and real-terms wages in the UK are more than 10% lower now than they were then.
As the article 4 years ago reveals, because of other impacts of Tory policy, further huge numbers of children are in poverty and unlikely to be measured – but even if those are not taken into account, the real number of children in poverty now in the UK is even higher than the published 3.9 million – at least 4.2 million.
In one of the world’s richest countries, the lower figure shames the Tories beyond the power of words to describe.
So what does the fact that the real figure is much higher – and they’ve known for 4 years that it was coming and have only acted to make it worse – say about them?
And the Tory response? Abolish the CPU and hope that #out of sight is out of mind’.
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