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Dispatches, child poverty

(34 Posts)
dalmatianmad Tue 03-Dec-19 08:20:29

I cant find a thread for this? Found it really difficult to watch. I lived on a poor council estate growing up so didn't think it would effect me as much as it did. Poor little girl having to try and understand her mums MH and carry the burden of knowing they couldn't have the hearing on because the Gas and Electrical wouldn't last.
Heartbreaking that this can happen, it's been a long time since I was having to scratch around for coppers to get bread and milk.
My kids just Wander into the kitchen and help themselves to whatever without a second thought.....

Camomila Tue 03-Dec-19 08:43:34

I know, I looked and was surprised not to find a thread either.

I grew up on free school meals...but it was pre-austerity and I consider myself so lucky. I try to do my part (give DSs old clothes to childrens centre, donate to food bank, talk about political issues) but it never feels enough.

QueenOfWinterfell Tue 03-Dec-19 08:55:30

It really does seem that all the social progress made in the last 50 years is now being erased.

dalmatianmad Tue 03-Dec-19 11:55:37

I cant imagine having to move my whole family (hope they took that beautiful dog) 150 miles away to find a cheaper house to rent.
So very sad.

Jodie77 Tue 03-Dec-19 12:57:52

I don't think people consider the mental health impact of that either. Lots of people say "well if you can't afford to live there then move" but the reality is those kids have been moved away from all their support and friends, and that's going to have a big impact on them and on their mum. There's just so much sadness to it all. To have to change your entire life for the money a lot of people would spend on takeaway coffees in a month or whatever just seems really tragic.

Venger Tue 03-Dec-19 13:02:05

There is a foul thread running in AIBU basically stating that people shouldn't have children unless they can always afford to support them and that child poverty is the parents own fault. These are the attitudes that allow austerity to continue and allow children to continue to live in poverty.

angemorange Tue 03-Dec-19 13:02:24

It's the one thing that really upsets me, what sort of society are we when we don't care enough to make sure our children have enough to eat, have decent housing and warm clothes?

Really sick of apologists for Tory austerity.

misspiggy19 Tue 03-Dec-19 13:05:30


Bringing a child into the world knowing it will end up in poverty is irresponsible.

HigherFurtherFasterBaby Tue 03-Dec-19 13:08:32

But you don’t KNOW you’re going to end up in poverty. So many things could happen to any of us, at any time that completely obliterates our lives as we know it.

angemorange Tue 03-Dec-19 13:08:38

What a shitty thing to say - you have no idea how peoples lives can change - jobs can be lost, health declines, things happen outside our control all the time.

Karma should be keeping its eye on you......

Venger Tue 03-Dec-19 13:13:11

Exactly angemorange.

So many times I've seen it said on here that people shouldn't get benefits for having children. Let's ignore for a second that a large percentage of benefit claimants are in work and the payments are a top up because minimum wage has not kept pace with the cost of living and unstable contracts (e.g., zero hours) mean work doesn't always pay and look purely at child-linked benefits. Those benefits are only payable while the parent has a qualifying child in their household so they are only paid for a finite time period, even if they had child after child after child (which they don't/won't as not many people have 4+ children). At the end if that finite time period, the money stops because it was for the benefit of the child(ren). It is there to put food in their bellies, keep a roof over their heads, clothe them, make sure that at the very least they have the basics so that they're going to school fed, dressed, clean, and in good health so they can have the opportunity to succeed and do well.

Remove the benefits, cap them, cut them, and the children suffer.

angemorange Tue 03-Dec-19 13:19:24

@Venger - so true. I'm sick of this demonisation of the poor.

There's no reason decent housing and adequate living standards can't be the norm in this country. Plenty of money wasted on other things.

The population is also aging fast - we need children to feel they might like to take care of us one day.

Venger Tue 03-Dec-19 13:20:00

Bringing a child into the world knowing it will end up in poverty is irresponsible

And the child should be punished for that, should they?

Redundancy, relationship breakdown, death, disability, illness - they can all reduce a families circumstances.

There are people in full time work who can't make ends meet because the minimum wage is not a living wage and top-up benefits such as Universal Credit are not fit for purpose.

There are people who do not have control over their own reproductive choices, over their own finances, over their own lives due to domestic abuse. Austerity makes it more difficult for them to leave.

There are people with chaotic lives, who for whatever reason don't have the ability to rationalise "maybe now isn't a good time to have a baby" so they have one.

There are people who are in contraception and it fails but they either cannot access an abortion or do not want one.

There are a million different circumstances and situations that mean someone cannot easily support a child.

Not a single one if those circumstances is the fault of the child so why should they bear the punishment for it?

HigherFurtherFasterBaby Tue 03-Dec-19 13:23:17

70% of children in poverty have working parents. Nobody who works should be in poverty. And neither should those that can’t work.

Jodie77 Tue 03-Dec-19 13:28:23

The difficulties that can come from even one crisis most people cannot predict. You might plan what to do in case you have a car incident, are fully insured and have money to replace it and money to cover some time off to recover, family to help etc. The car incident happens. You end up with PTSD and panic attacks at the prospect of ever having to drive again. You have to take meds now which you can't drive on. You have to move house (at a loss) because the local bus service has been cancelled due to cuts. While you are in the process of moving you try getting taxis to work for awhile which goes on your credit card. You move into the new house, but there are issues with it. More on the credit card. The company you work for aren't doing well, and due to the amount of sick time you took because of the car incident you are top of the firing line. You get a small redundancy pay out, but it won't cover much more than the mortgage. So you do a benefits calculator and think that there might be some help for you. You are told that you should be entitled to £700 a month and borrow an advance for that for the first 5 weeks. You have to ignore your credit card bill to keep heating and eating but that's alright, you are looking for jobs and it will come right soon. Except you don't find a job. And you forgot to tell them about your redundancy in the right way when you applied, so the £700 payment you were expecting is actually £0. You keep getting turned down for jobs which impacts your already delicate mental health. The credit card company are chasing you. But you're doing you're best to keep your head above water. And then you wake up and can hardly move. You have secondary nerve damage from the car incident and not resting properly. You go on new meds for that which make your brain foggy. You struggle more and more to deal with life. Because of this everybody around you backs away and you become increasingly isolated. Your redundancy runs out and you have to chose between the mortgage and eating. You chose the mortgage for a couple of months, and get all the food bank vouchers and fuel discounts and payments you can come by. But then you meet the limit and the next month you are just so hungry and cold you have to chip into the money for the mortgage payment to heat your home and not starve. After a few months of this, you default on the mortgage and lose your house. You go to the council and because of your health conditions they decide they won't put you out on the street. They provide temporary accommodation. But a mistake on your universal credit means that they take you off it and so your temporary accommodation gets removed because you can't pay the rent there. So they make you street homeless. Your cold and hungry and have nobody, but your ill too so you work yourself up into a state which triggers a panic attack and means you at least get to sit in A&E for a few hours, but they have no beds or mental health beds. So they send you out into the dark night on your own. You find some other homeless people who encourage you to have some alcohol to drink to help you sleep rough. But the alcohol and meds you are in mixed together causes you to Overdose. You end up back in A&E and going round in circles if you are 'lucky' otherwise you might well be dead.

Because of a car incident which you had planned for. Got your insurance and some savings. But not enough.

I think people think that if they really need the safety net it's there. But if you take it away for the so called undeserving poor you take it away for the deserving poor too. No more obvious is this than when you punish "irresponsible parents" by making their kids destitute

Awwlookatmybabyspider Tue 03-Dec-19 13:28:39

That’s your Tory Government and Sadly it’s not going away anytime soon or even in the distant future.
Because and it brings me no pleasure to say this, but. I guarantee we’ll wake up to a Conservative Majority on
Friday 13 December. I’d say “ I hope I’m proven wrong, but I know I won’t be.
I absolutely despair

angemorange Tue 03-Dec-19 13:30:57

Exactly - low wages and lack of affordable houisng are major factors in the rapid increase in child poverty in the UK. These are ideological decisions made by the government over the past 9 years, hardly the life choices made by parents on low incomes.

mrsm43s Tue 03-Dec-19 13:58:06

But what's the solution?

It's very clear from Courtney's mum, that the 1 month qualifying period for UC claims to start is a real issue, and I definitely think that needs to be addressed. This seems like a massive flaw in the system.

By the end of the programme 3 out of 4 families had been rehoused in more suitable accommodation, with the 4th presumably already suitably housed (albeit one family moved a long way away - I'm not too sure why that was necessary as the HB component of UC is related to the average price of rent in an area, so its hard to see how it benefits them - cheaper rent, but also less HB).

The lack of hope/aspiration in some of the children upset me - but how do we solve this? We already offer Uni loans/contextual offers/various schemes for children from underpriviledged areas. I think, ideologically more needs to be done to raise aspirations in disadvantaged children to break the cycle, but I don't know practically how that can be done?

Also upsetting was watching the children have to deal with their parent's mental health issues - again, what is the actual solution to this?

What services do we think would help? I'm just musing on what anyone (individual/organisation/government) can practically do to make things better.

HigherFurtherFasterBaby Tue 03-Dec-19 14:04:11

Mental Health is a tricky one. Because there’s fuck all funding. I consider myself privileged to registered at my Uni GP; they have a psychiatrist on staff who’s there one day a week, and an entire floor dedicated to MH services. It’s the best care I’ve ever had in my life (I’m in my 30s). I take meds (several), do CBT, and bust my ass at home and at Uni; its fucking crippling me, without a doubt.

HigherFurtherFasterBaby Tue 03-Dec-19 14:05:51

I escaped my council estate as a single mother with 3DC and now attend one of the best Unis in the country. The year I spent at college was one of the hardest of my life. But I couldn’t stand my life any more after fleeing from DV.

We need more funded adult education IMO.

angemorange Tue 03-Dec-19 14:15:52

Some solutions -

Living wage
Increase supply of affordable housing/house building programme on a massive scale
End to one month/5 week waiting times for UC and other benefits
Increased funding for MH services/health visitors/community midwives
Greater funding for adult education/paid internships
Reinstate funding for Sure Start programmes
End to punitive benefits sanctions

Just a few - others may have more smile

RockinHippy Tue 03-Dec-19 14:30:48

*Bringing a child into the world knowing it will end up in poverty is irresponsible.

Is that you Boris🧐

I didn't see it, but have seen enough clips from it, plus seen other videos & heard awful stories from teacher friends. It's heartbreaking. It's really scary just how quickly it has become this bad

Illeana Tue 03-Dec-19 14:46:33

It isn’t a new problem. In the 80s we could only afford to have the heating on in the evening when it was the coldest. I used to push my dolls pram along behind the coal delivery man and pick up the bits he dropped on the street. If I filled the pram we could heat the water for a bath. As I got older I became increasingly conscious that my mum only ate my leftovers because we didn’t have enough food for two plates, so I started eating less to make sure there was some left for her. I was constantly aware that we were poor and I couldn’t ask for anything. Poverty does have lifelong psychological effects - I’m still careful with money and keep the heating turned down, I’m a miser and I hate wasting anything.

KnittingSister Tue 03-Dec-19 14:54:05

@Jodie77 excellently put.

dottiedodah Tue 03-Dec-19 14:56:36

I think that we have gone backwards in a way havent we ? Born in the 60s ,there was Council homes avaliable for relatively affordable rents and some safety nets around .PIL had a CF in Pimlico ,before buying their own home in the suburbs .In London recently had a look ,just for Nostalgia really .£500,000 was the average price to buy one ! Many of them have been sold off .Children who grow up poor have so little chance of moving up .Its depressing .When my son went to Uni there was a lot of blurb about help avaliable for those on a low income ,but the majority of Students were from well off or like us middle class backgrounds! Something has to be done before we end up with a 2 tier society such as the 19th Century except we seem to be short of a Christian benefactor or two!

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