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Tories pledge to end child poverty
April 12, 2006 5:52 AM   Subscribe

In an article in the Guardian shadow chancellor Oliver Letwin announces that the Conservative Party has signed up to Labour's target to end child poverty in the UK by 2020. More about this story: Guardian leader, Labour Party response. Last month, the intermediate target of a 25% cut by April 2005 was missed, despite substantial progress. Perhaps the time is now right for this idea to be adopted over the pond?
posted by teleskiving (12 comments total)

 
Who cares once they're born?
Certainly not the "compassionate conservatives" in the US.
Only fetuses and blastocysts matter.
Allow me to make a modest proposal on how to eliminate impoverished children ...
posted by nofundy at 6:20 AM on April 12, 2006


What the blimey? I don't know whether to be glad that the Tories are (pretending to be?) adopting progressive policies or terrified that this makes them more electable.

It certainly makes me feel sick to the stomach when I hear a politician on the radio, find myself agreeing with them on some point or other, then realise that they're a fucking Tory.
posted by jack_mo at 6:43 AM on April 12, 2006


Worth mentioning that while lifting pensioners and children out of poverty, Labour's policies have also increased the number of single adults living in poverty.
posted by biffa at 6:45 AM on April 12, 2006


Should've read more closely: Where the effort of reconstruction comes from the bottom up, from the locality, from social enterprise meeting local need, sustainable progress can be made. presumably means give taxpayers' money to businesses so they can fuck everything up and profit en route.

Phew, they're still fascist pigdogs then!
posted by jack_mo at 6:47 AM on April 12, 2006


"It certainly makes me feel sick to the stomach when I hear a politician on the radio, find myself agreeing with them on some point or other, then realise that they're a fucking Tory"

I feel your pain.

During Blairs "War on scary brown people" debate I was entertaining scenarios where I would vote Tory the first time in my life.

On preview

"Phew, they're still fascist pigdogs then!" - WooHoo
posted by fullerine at 7:08 AM on April 12, 2006


Worth mentioning that while lifting pensioners and children out of poverty, Labour's policies have also increased the number of single adults living in poverty.

Um - that article also makes reference to "the growing number of single households in the UK", which makes it unclear whether the level of poverty among single people has increased, or whether there are just more single people, and therefore more single poor people. A rise of 300 000 in 7 years sounds like it could be fairly reasonably explained by the latter.
posted by creeky at 7:25 AM on April 12, 2006


makes it unclear whether the level of poverty among single people has increased, or whether there are just more single people, and therefore more single poor people

See page 27 of this document [direct link to PDF] for figures from the Family Resources Survey. These indicate that childless people of working age are no more or less likely to be poor than they were in 1997, in contrast to people with children and pensioners who are at least slightly better off across the board. So it is fair to say that childless people have been left behind, but not really to say that they are worse off than they used to be.
posted by teleskiving at 8:30 AM on April 12, 2006


That is interesting and informative teleskiving, thanks for the link. Without wishing to sound like I'm desperately clinging to a point, 'Labour, they've done fuck all for you in 9 years' does not seem like a major selling point or a vindication of their policies.
posted by biffa at 9:03 AM on April 12, 2006


Ending child poverty - or indeed any poverty, is a noble goal - but only if it's absolute poverty. Too many people on the left try to use relative poverty (ie earning less than a specified % of average income) as a measure. This is utterly bogus - because it can only be ended by massive redistirbution of wealth in a rather old fashioned socialist way. It also takes the national eye of the smaller, and much more vulnerable, section of children living in real poverty - which is where we should be looking. As a tory (sorry, dropped on head as child) I can support the latter - but not the former.
posted by prentiz at 9:24 AM on April 12, 2006


as a tory (sorry, dropped on head as child) I can support the latter - but not the former

That's what's surprised me about this announcement - it is an explicit acknowledgement by the Conservative leadership that relative poverty is a problem. This is bound to alienate a large proportion of their membership - if they hear about it. Up till now, there seems to be very little noise around this story - I couldn't even find a mention on the BBC website.

'Labour, they've done fuck all for you in 9 years' does not seem like a major selling point or a vindication of their policies

I would like to think that for some single people this would be slightly mitigated by the fact that their gran is no longer terrified to turn on the heating and that their sister can now afford to buy fresh vegetables for her kids. But yes, it's a disappointing figure however you look at it.
posted by teleskiving at 10:42 AM on April 12, 2006


It is a programme destined to fail, if for no other reason than the Standard Distribution Curve.

This was best explained by a school principal who was asked to address one ladies' club too many.

He began by saying that no matter what he, or his teachers, or the parents, or the State, or the students did, 50% of his students would be below average, 17% of them would get only a poor education, and 5% could not learn in *any* school.

They did not invite him back, because they did not wish to hear that. But the same rule, with the same percentages, is unavoidable for many things in life.

If you take children as a group, 50% of them will have below average resources, 17% will have unacceptably low levels of resources, and 5% will be poor.

But the important thing about the SDC is that if you change the subject, people will change whatever group they are in.

For example, in the case of poverty, again, while 5% of the children may be poor, they are not necessarily the same 5% with broken homes. Or the 5% who do worst in school. Or the 5% with a terrible diet, etc.

So any effort to solve poverty predicated on the idea that by solving poverty, you will create vast social change is wrong on two counts. First, you will not solve poverty, though you might change the definition of poverty; and second, that materialism is more important that other factors, like a stable family home life; parental support and discipline; and the motivation to succeed.
posted by kablam at 7:41 PM on April 12, 2006


By flattening income distribution then you can stay with the same definition and have less people falling below the poverty line. Essentially, the rich have a little less so the poor can have a little more, which funnily enough is what a socialist, or even social democratic party, might be expected to be committed to.
posted by biffa at 3:07 AM on April 13, 2006


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