A Child in our Time came about because yesterday I read an article by Jack Shenker on Craig Easton’s photographs of the Williams family which was published in the Guardian Weekend. It was thought-provoking in a number of ways, firstly the Williams family were not different from you and I, they worked and if it hadn’t been for the ‘depression’ of the 90s brought about by a number of factors including:
restrictive monetary policy enacted by central banks, primarily in response to inflation concerns, the loss of consumer and business confidence as a result of the 1990 oil price shock…Wikipedia
and because of the recession, they lost jobs and homes and ended up on benefits. They strived to get out the hole that they were driven into and let’s be honest neither the politics and politicians of that day, nor even today seem to understand what they need to help them step up out of the quagmire that governments have put them in.
But they are not alone; according to the current government’s own information, there were 5.6 million people on Universal Credit at 9 July 2020, an increase of 2% from 11 June 2020. around 42% (that means 4 in 10) of claimants were in the ‘Searching for work’ conditionality group. But again, this statistic means little until you also look at how many people in the United Kingdom are on the poverty line. According to fullfact.org, An estimated 14.3 million people are in poverty in the UK. 8.3 million are working-age adults, 4.6 million are children, and 1.3 million are of pension age. Around 22% of people are in poverty, and 34% of children are (27 Sep 2019).
As I said, the Williams family are not unique in what has happened to them, but I wonder if anyone in the government realises just how far we have sunk? We have initiatives driven by individuals like Marcus Rashford and other sporting stars, by organisations like Children in Need, businesses who either have their own initiatives or who have joined together to support others, and of course, we have private individuals – but, why does it seem that the government always seems to behind in taking action that will help positively. I see lots of government initiatives which rarely seem to achieve much!
Also, I again have to note that it is not just the conservative government, the Labour/Lib Dem pact was equally as bad.
I honestly do not know the solution, but I do know that if we continue to vote in politicians who have little or no idea of the society that they are representing then as a country we would seem to be doomed.
The Joseph Rowntree Foundations says:
Solving poverty is not quick or easy, but it is possible, starting with a vision, commitment and a plan.