Polly Toynbee And The Horrendous Rise In Child Poverty

Polly Toynbee wants to tell us that there’s been an horrendous rise in child poverty in the UK in recent years. Something so shaming that we should all go and vote Labour:

Gordon Brown is making thundering poverty speeches this week. “I remember Tia well,” he tells me, eager to help her. “I remember that Monday before the election. Both Cameron and [Nick] Clegg made big poverty pledges they broke immediately. The Liberal Democrat anti-austerity manifesto was a worse U-turn than on student fees.”

Brown, who cut child poverty by a million, points to the treatment of poor people since he left office. He rails against universal credit, celebrating Labour’s plan to abolish it. He is appalled by the two-child limit and the cuts and long freezes to benefits, soaring numbers of families in private rentals, housing benefit no longer covering their rent. “They say they’re unfreezing child benefit? That’s just 35p, after they cut it by £7. I am utterly shocked by the levels of child poverty.” He quotes the Institute for Fiscal Studies’ 2017 prediction for it to reach 5.1 million children by 2022. He is appalled, above all, by the Tories’ indifference: “At least Thatcher and Major worried at rising numbers. Not now.”

The actual statistics, using the same measure that Polly is. The percentage of children living in households with less than 60% of median household income, adjusted for household size. A is after housing costs, B is before:

UK child poverty

Does that look like some mass rise in child poverty since 2010 to you? The odd percentage point here or there, perhaps, but something so shaming we’ve all got to vote for Grandpa Death?

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Gavin Longmuir Recent comment authors
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Gavin Longmuir
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Gavin Longmuir

It seems there is a big difference between poverty and “relative low income”. Most of us have relatively low income compared to, say, Bill Gates. But so what? There is always going to be a distribution of incomes.

Poverty is when human beings have to shit on the same streets on which they sleep, as in the progressive paradise of San Francisco. Does that happen at 60% of median household income, or at some other level?