Taking significant steps towards ending child poverty has proved challenging for all governments but never has there been a more pressing time for our politicians to put it right for our poorest children than in the budget this week.Let’s do it for the chiiiiilllllreeeen, eh?
Economic growth is sluggish though, and where jobs are available, many are insecure and low paid. It is simply wrong that so many – about 3.5 million – children live in poverty in the UK today.It’s simply wrong that ‘poverty’ has come to mean what it currently means.
Unicef's latest "report card" on child wellbeing shows that income poverty matters. It found that household income is the most important factor in determining levels of child poverty and inequality in the UK, and, indeed, that the size of the inequality gap in the UK is far from inevitable.Then perhaps we need to see more prospective parents considering that before dropping sprogs left, right and centre?
One way of supporting disadvantaged families would be for the government to promote the living wage across the public and private sector. This would help parents to pay for basic necessities, like housing, food and transport, which many are struggling to provide for their children at the moment.So we had the ‘Minimum Wage’ and that wasn’t enough. Now, you want to raise it and call it something else?
Another way to tackle child poverty would be to impose a small tax on the financial sector (the so-called Robin Hood tax), which could raise up to £10bn for the UK's poorest children.Robbing Peter to pay Paul only works if Peter can’t up sticks and move out of the country. And wealth isn’t a zero sum game.
Remember, we are talking about children – those least responsible for the financial crisis.I’m not responsible for the financial crisis either.
So why should my income tax go to pay for the feckless?