Saturday, 28 March 2009

Hold the front page

Tomorrow's Observer has a front page story that Alastair Darling is going to focus help in his forthcoming Budget on the poorest families. Can't find it on the website yet but the story is, I assume, linked to a letter to the Observer from 110 Labour MPs, calling for any future fiscal stimulus to be targeted at those who need it most and are most likely to spend it. I happen to have a copy of the letter. (Because I wrote it).

"This month marks the 10th anniversary of the Labour Government’s pledge to eradicate child poverty. We have come a long way since then, lifting 600,000 children out of poverty, with another 500,000 to follow as a result of investment announced by the Chancellor, including an extra £1bn for tackling child poverty in Budget 2008: proof, if it was needed, of this Government’s determination to ‘Keep the Promise’ on child poverty.

As Labour MPs we believe that as the global economic downturn hits us here in the UK, it is time to reaffirm and strengthen our commitment to this country’s poorest children. We welcome the Government’s decision to bring a Child Poverty Bill before the House in this parliamentary session, which will enshrine the child poverty targets in law.

There will be many demands made of the Chancellor over the coming weeks as he counts down towards his Budget on April 22nd. We believe that targeting resources towards the poorest children and their families does not just make moral sense; it makes economic sense too.

A targeted fiscal stimulus, aimed at those who need the money most and are most likely to spend it, is the best way to help the UK out of recession. An extra pound in the pocket of a family living in poverty will do more to increase demand, to keep people in jobs, and to keep our businesses in business, than its equivalent in tax cuts for an affluent household.

We do not need to choose between keeping the economy afloat and helping families keep their heads above water. The most effective economic recovery package – giving the most to those who need it most - can do both.

We – along with the 10,000 people who attended the ‘Keep the Promise’ rally in Trafalgar Square in October, and many more of our constituents too - urge the Chancellor to keep child poverty in mind as he prepares his Budget, and to ‘Keep the Promise’ to children in the UK."

Probably not a great weekend for the mobile to pack up - and whoever it is who has left messages, I can't access them but perhaps a text might work? But anyway, looks like job done.


IanPJ said...

But WHY is there still child poverty in the UK after 12 years of Labour welfare? The article doesn't explain.

Kerry said...

I would reply to this, but I know you and your party (LPUK) don't actually give a damn about the issue and therefore I feel that I've got rather better ways to spend a Sunday afternoon.

IanPJ said...

I should feel slighted by that comment, however I'm not here for a point scoring exercise.

I am genuinely interested to know why Labour has failed in this task.

What I have seen over the past 12 years is that your Government has been taking taxes from the lowest paid, processing it and returning approximately 40p in the £1 as benefits or rebates.

That is merely economic madness in order to maintain control of those at their most vulnerable, and extended its reach with the 10p tax band fiasco.
Your suggestion to Alistair Darling merely extends that situation further.

Surely you should be working to take more people out of the tax system rather than just adding more money to the poorly processed system.

LPUK policies would remove the need to tax the lower paid altogether. How is that not giving a damn?

Obnoxio The Clown said...

So weak, Kerry, so weak.

It's not that we don't give a damn about child poverty, it's that we don't think the government is the right way of solving it.

It's been more than a decade now that Labour has been working on it and it's still not fixed, despite blowing billions of pounds on it.

So come on, why haven't you fixed it yet? Forget what you "know" -- that excuse doesn't cut any ice.

Martin said...

Ah, the standard politician's response:
"You're against the government doing X, therefore you are against all X".

You can see the logical fallacy involved, surely?

Kerry said...

How about you go away and do some homework first, and look at this
and this site

Steven_L said...

I think that the key to understanding this child poverty issue is understanding the indicators that are used.

For a start, the 60% of median income indicator is before housing costs.

The measure is not adjusted for regional variances in average incomes and the factors regarding housing.

Whilst the aims of improving equality of opportunity, health and social mobility are laudible, I think that the policy direction focus's too much on crude economic indicators.

IanPJ said...

I really do think that you believe that entire document of clap-trap.

Were those figures made up on the back of a Muesli packet?.

The document tells us "households with children are on average £2,100 better off in 2009/10 and families with children in the poorest fifth of the population are £4,400 better off as a result of personal tax and
benefit changes."

However, those are Gross figures. What the document fails to say is that those households now have 20% tax deducted from those figures instead of 10% from those gross figures, and the bulk of that Gross increase still relies heavily on 40p in the £1 payments in tax credits.

It is still wasting 60% of the available Tax funds on layers of pen pushers. Why take it off these vulnerable people in the first place?. Let them keep what they earn, that way they get £1 for every £1.

It would be cheaper, and far more efficient if you simply raised the tax threshold to the median wage allowing those lower income families to keep 100% of what they earn.

But then that would put so many of your taxpayer funded 'partners' out of work, and a loss of absolute financial and to an extent political control over the lower sector.

The entire economy is now based on credit and debt, forcing people to borrow to buy. Its backwards.

Any economy does not survive by artificially keeping alive those institutions that lend or produce.
Economies survive by keeping alive those who buy, not by borrowing and creating more debt, but by earning.

Spending is increased proportionately in line with reductions in taxation, that is why the Retail Sales Index is so important.

It matters not how many factories you bail out, it matters not how much you reduce prices or slash VAT, if those at the bottom of the pyramid don't have the money to buy those products it collapses.

Those at the lower income levels need real money, not more tax credits, earnings with no tax which increases their disposable income.

I want to see Parents make the decisions for their children, where to send them for schooling, how to dress them, how to feed them, which subjects to educate them in, and I want to see them do that with their own money, their own earned income.

I don't want to see them kept artificially poor as they are now, reliant on and locked into state handouts so that the state can control where they fit into the rising levels failure within the education sector that these children have to endure now.

Now, In terms of Poverty, that is a very emotive and politically charged word, and totally misrepresented in this document.

Poverty is when children don't have a change of clothes, only owning what they stand up in.
Poverty is when children have to ravage rubbish bins and waste dumps for food.
Poverty is when children have never seen a doctor since birth.
Poverty is when children have never seen a school, let alone use one.

Spend a week in Mombasa or Accra if you want to see poverty, you wont find it in the UK.

The child poverty this document speaks of is a huge political red herring.

It is clear that you won't be happy until everyone in the UK is equal, but the only equality with this kind of spending is that everyone will be equally poor.

You cannot keep spending the tax money of the dwindling numbers of productive taxpayers to support the unproductive areas of the economy. It will collapse in on itself, but maybe that is what you want.

And after all that, you have still failed to answer the original question, and so did the document that you pointed us to.

Why is there still child 'poverty' in the UK after 12 years of Labour welfare.

After all, Labour have claimed that we were the richest country in Europe for 10 of those years.

Bristol Dave said...

Are these hundreds of thousands not just "tractor stats", though?

Where you say 600,000 children have been "lifted" out of poverty - how is a child officially defined as living in poverty, and at what point is it decided that they are no longer living in poverty, and who decides this? What will the £1bn investment for tackling child poverty announced in the budget actually be spent on? Often these figures are never expanded.

Kerry said...

Will reply to your Qs when blogging holiday is over. Although the info is all out there in public domain if you just do a bit of Googling.