Ideological Austerity has hit UK Families so Hard that “starving children are eating from bins”

A010The child poverty resulting from ideological austerity has reached such levels, that in parts of the country hungry children are rummaging through bins in search of food.
The Bin-Kids of Stoke
More than 20,000 people in Stoke have found themselves reliant on food banks to eat in the least year.  This means dozens of hungry families are referred each week. But this effort by the charity sector to fill the gap left by welfare cuts has not been enough to keep the poorest of the town’s children fed.

Foodbank volunteer Glenn Parkes, aged 58, who lives in Temple Street, told the Stoke Sentinel:

“We have a lot of referrals to the foodbank and around half of those are for families who need to feed their children.

“I spotted a guy going through the bins outside a shop near where I live recently. We had a chat and he was a nice, well spoken guy with some troubles who simply couldn’t afford food.

Jade Poynton, aged 38, of Fenton, said:

“My nan lives in Brocksford Street and there have been a couple of times when she has heard the bin lid slam against the window and seen people having a look through the bags. It was children and she has seen the same ones doing the same thing down the street and eating bits of food they find.”

Locals have become so concerned that community meetings are being held to discuss how to deal with the matter.
Ideological Austerity and Child Poverty
Missing from the anti-welfare narrative of the government is what happens to the children of welfare claimants when the safety net is ripped away.  Even by the DWP’s own figures, benefit fraud occurs in just 0.7% of cases, and costs the Treasury a mere 10 times less each year than tax avoidance – yet 100% of benefit claimants are being re-assessed and stigmatized by this government – and many of those claimants are parents.
Back in June 2012, Action for Children, the Children’s Society and the NSPCC co-authored the report: “In the Eye of the Storm: Britain’s Forgotten Families”, which provided a sobering warning of the impacts of ideological austerity on said the nation’s poorest households:
  • Families with four or more vulnerabilities are set to lose around 8% of their net income from the tax and benefit changes, compared to less than 5% for families with no vulnerabilities.
  • Combining the changes to the tax and benefits system with spending cuts to public services shows that families with 5 or more vulnerabilities lose approximately £3,000 per year.
  • Between 2008 and 2015 it is estimated that the number of families with five or more vulnerabilities will increase from 130,000 to 150,000 – an increase of just over 14%. The number of children living in families with five or more vulnerabilities is set to rise by 54,000 to 365,000, an increase of around 17%.
  • Taking a slightly wider definition of vulnerability, the number of children living in families with four or more vulnerabilities is set to rise from 885,000 in 2008 to just over one million by 2015, also an increase of 17%.
  • Particularly worrying is the projected increase in the number of children living in extremely vulnerable families – families with six or seven different risk factors. Although currently fewer than 50,000, the number of children living in extremely vulnerable families is set to double by 2015 to 96,000.
They made recommendations to the government of the actions required to avoid the country’s poorest children becoming the biggest victims of ideological austerity.  These warnings were ignored.  The results?
According to the Child Poverty Action Group:
  • There are 3.5 million children living in poverty in the UK today. That’s 27 per cent of children, or more than one in four.1
  • There are even more serious concentrations of child poverty at a local level: in 100 local wards, for example, between 50 and 70 per cent of children are growing up in poverty.2
  • Work does not provide a guaranteed route out of poverty in the UK. Two-thirds (66 per cent) of children growing up in poverty live in a family where at least one member works.3
  • Under current government policies, child poverty is projected to rise from 2012/13 with an expected 600,000 more children living in poverty by 2015/16.10 This upward trend is expected to continue with 4.7 million children projected to be living in poverty by 2020.

Save the Children

A012In 2007, David Cameron committed his party to addressing child poverty, stating ‘Ending child poverty is central to improving child well-being’. Instead, he has exacerbated the problem with cruel and un-necessary cuts to essential welfare support – while his government borrowed more money in its first 3 years than New Labour did in 13 (including the bank bailout under Labour).

This borrowing has not been used to fund much-needed infrastructure projects that would build roads, houses, schools and hospitals.  It has been used to plug the gap left behind by corporate subsidies, tax cuts, tax avoidance and the transfer of public assets into the hands of profit-making private interests.

Bottom line – it costs more to do the essentials like feed, house, transport, and maintain the health of our citizens if those who the provide the service add their profit premium to the basic costs.  This is the simple argument that underpins the welfare state.

This logic has been ignored – and now we have children eating scraps from bins to survive.


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8 thoughts on “Ideological Austerity has hit UK Families so Hard that “starving children are eating from bins”

  1. Pingback: Fucking Anger | Hello from Raging Crip

  2. This happened in my home town. When I was reading this article online, from the local newspaper, I was choked with tears. When I read the ill-informed bile and vitriol being spouted in the comments section I was beside myself. I volunteer in my community. Just last week I met a local resident whose JSA had been sanctioned. The sole reason for this, not having a mobile phone. This is despite making arrangements with JCP to contact him through the college where he attends the work programme 5 days a week. I heard of another lady who waited so long for a benefit payment, she sold her phone to feed the gas meter. The result, sanctioned because she couldn’t be reached. What this govt are doing to the poorest and most vulnerable is criminal.
    When are they going to be made to account for their actions?

    • that is beyond disgusting.

      nobody seems to have ntoiced the policy change about ten years ago—ALL G-men demand a mobile phone number before even ‘speaking’ with you—they neevr actually phone nor put anything in writingof course….but obviously it’s from central govt, to track your movements, listen in on you, boot up the camera and use it as cctv in your own home, download your address book and all your personal info from it putting everybody you know at risk….

      i’ve repeatedly been very clear with them. u know my number it’s not my phone anymore, u know where i live it is not safe to live there anymore, if u know where i am going i am not going there anymore. if u know my bank details it is not my bank account anymore—i doubt any actual secret law has ever been passed to legalise this crime, but no benefits or paers at all for over 8 years now….when my family finally dies i’m so up for doing a Moaty….god bless his soul.

      • Raoul Moat murdered his ex girlfriend in a planned attack. The others were collateral damage. Your objection to state control has nothing to do with Moat. His girlfriend didn’t stop his benefits or track his movements for the government!

        Your comment starts off OK and then descends into madness.

  3. When I first read this I thought ‘no way! I live on a breadline income and we are always well fed’ (HUGE proportion of my income goes on food), but then I realised – I have been going through bins for years! I don’t even think about it anymore. If I see anything that looks salvageable I get it out!

    This isn’t the same thing – I do not do it because we hungry, but the cause is the same – I started doing it because we are poor.

  4. I had a stroke last year. It knocked me out of work (I wish to work but I have great difficulty). A year later, I’m still tussling with DWP and they treat me like a criminal. I and my kids can just about afford to eat because of a charity called Framework, who have helped me with the myrid forms. They help me to continue and not become a complete casualty……

  5. Pingback: Ideological Austerity has hit UK Families so Ha...

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