Checks and Balances: UK Child Poverty

Organisation, institution and countries all need measure to prevent the abuse of power, its fundamental.

Today is a perfect example of this very maxim. Enter the House of Lords, which today, by a clear majority of 290 to 192, voted to pass an amendment that will force the United Kingdom’s government to publish figures and statistic on income-related child poverty.

The very fact that the Tories are trying to avoid releasing such figures is disturbing enough in itself. They had planned to redefine the measures that determine child poverty, by looking instead at, the number of children in jobless homes, for example; a convenient indicator considering the UK unemployment rate is close to a 10 year low. The proposed changes look worse in light of the fact 3.7 million children are currently living in poverty in the UK, and 63% of those suffering are in household in which someone works, statistically sweeping child poverty under the rug.

Thankfully the scheme was denounced by child poverty charities as well as the Social Mobility Commission, chaired by former Labour MP Alan Milburn.

Although the reformed and renamed 2010 Child Poverty Act, now the Life Chances Act, had already passed through the House of Commons, it will now need to return to be debated again. Here’s hoping the current government receives the hint.

The Labour Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Owen Smith said this move was “shameful”, a much more polite manner in which to put it. He went on to state that “It should be a national mission to ensure every child has a decent start in life and measuring relative wealth and narrowing the gap in incomes must be central to that task.”

But why should we deal with a problem head on when a slight change in legislation means it can be hidden from the eye of the general public right?

[Image via the Independent]







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