There are some facts people find it hard to accept. They are too painful to consider or we doubt what they mean, assuming that if they were really true then surely everyone would demand something was done about it. Yet, if the last century has taught us anything, it is that people are very willing to turn a blind eye to horrors when confronting the truth would make them deeply uncomfortable.
For instance, even before COVID-19, a third of Crawley’s children were growing up in poverty, the majority of whom living in working households. While many have taken the time to support a local foodbank or express their disgust at the Government’s attempts to remove free school meals from struggling families over the holidays, the reality is that while these things help to limit the consequences of poverty, none of them will actually help take children out of poverty.
Before the Conservatives came to power, child poverty was falling steeply and almost no family was forced to rely upon a food bank to survive. The situation we find ourselves in today is the direct consequence of weakening working conditions including pay, gutting the social security system, and shifting the UK’s tax burden from its wealthiest to its poorest citizens.
None of this is an accident, it reflects political choices taken by the party in Government. Doubt it? Well then ask yourself this question, will the Government’s decision to cut Universal Credit by £20 a week help to reduce child poverty or will it increase it? Here’s another one, will increasing employees’ National Insurance rates so that those on low incomes pay a bigger percentage of the country’s tax bill decrease child poverty or increase it? Also, will increasing employers’ National Instance rates so that it becomes more expensive to reduce unemployment as we emerge from the pandemic decrease child poverty or increase it?
Last one, if you vote for a party whose decisions consistently make the lives of the most innocent and vulnerable members of our community worse, are you responsible for helping to decrease child poverty or increase it?
Cllr Peter Lamb
Leader, Crawley Borough Council