On 2 December, Channel 4‘s Dispatches is set to screen a documentary called Growing Up Poor: Britain’s Breadline Kids. It should be essential viewing for people who’re undecided about who to vote for, and for everyone considering voting Tory.
“We try not to eat a lot in one day”
Ahead of the broadcast, a clip shared on Twitter features children from one of those families. It shows Caitlin, Casey and Cameron. Cameron says:
We try not to eat a lot in one day. Even though most of us are really hungry. We have to be careful with our food.
He goes on to explain how his family use foodbanks “because we don’t have a lot of money”. As his sister says: “So that place is helping us a lot”. Later she explains:
I think I want people with more money to understand what it’s like with less money. I want them to understand that it’s difficult. People with more money can help people with less money. Because we’re all equal and stuff.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn stressed:
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Make no mistake, the Tories are responsible for this.
"We try not to eat a lot in one day, even though most of us are really hungry."
This sentence should never be uttered by any child, let alone one living in the 5th richest country in the world.
Make no mistake, the Tories are responsible for this.pic.twitter.com/cOorZYZMeD
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) December 1, 2019
Tory “austerity is a political choice”
As of 2016/17, 30% of children – 4.1 million – were living in poverty in the UK. 67% of those children had a parent in work. Many working parents claim Universal Credit. As The Canary previously reported, Universal Credit has forced some people to use foodbanks and made others homeless. In April, the Trussell Trust revealed that foodbank use in the UK had hit a record high. In July, it said:
Over a third of all emergency food parcels distributed by food banks in the Trussell Trust’s UK-wide network go to children
In 2018, UN special rapporteur Philip Alston concluded an investigation into the impact of austerity and poverty in the UK. Alston pointed out that, far from creating any sort of “caring” or “compassionate” benefits system, there was an “ideological” motivation behind welfare cuts. He also said:
The state does not have your back any longer. You are on your own.
Significantly, Alston also found that the impact of austerity and welfare cuts has:
fallen disproportionately upon the poor, women, racial and ethnic minorities, children, single parents, and people with disabilities.
Many people drew attention to such facts after seeing the Dispatches clip:
Please encourage all voters to watch #Dispatches on Channel 4 at 10pm tonight. Please remember that austerity is a political choice – Tory Govt choice.
— Sarah #VoteLabour (@ScouseGirlMedia) December 2, 2019
Caitlin is one of over 4.1 million (30%) children growing up living in poverty in Britain today.
— Ben Claimant 💚 (@imajsaclaimant) December 2, 2019
It doesn’t have to be like this
The Labour manifesto promises that the party “will end food bank Britain, and lift children and pensioners out of poverty”. It says a Labour government will:
halve food bank usage within a year and remove the need for them altogether in three years.
The manifesto also calls Universal Credit “a catastrophe”, stressing that it’s:
pushed thousands of people into poverty, caused families to lose their homes and forced parents to visit food banks in order to feed their children.
Labour will scrap UC. We will immediately stop moving people onto it and design an alternative system that treats people with dignity and respect.
There’s a chance to help Cameron, Caitlin, and Casey on 12 December. For the 4.1 million children living in poverty, people can vote the Tories out once and for all.
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