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Into the Tory abyss

Half a million more children in absolute poverty since 2010
Duncan Milligan, Thursday, June 25th, 2015

It took the Tory-led coalition which took office in 2010 only three years to push another 500,000 children into absolute poverty, according to new figures released today. And it took them only four years in office to turn the real value of the average household income back to what is worth in 2001.

And nearly one in three families with a disabled member is in absolute poverty, up from 28% to 30% from 2012/2013 to 2013/14 after housing costs are taken into account. The bad news is these figures are only up to April 2014 – last year – and before the next Tory onslaught on the poor and disabled.

The new figures, produced by the Office for National Statistics, starkly sets out the big cold figures behind millions of stories of poverty in the UK. For the Tories their version of ‘good’ news is that most of the figures did not get worse in the final year the statistics look at, up to April 2014.

The figures are both very dry and astonishing to look at. Child poverty is on a steep downward trajectory from 1997 until it hits the wall of the Tory-led coalition in 2010.

And in only three years the number of actual children in absolute poverty – after housing costs – rises from 3.6 million to 4.1 million. That’s 500,000 more kids in absolute poverty.

Child poverty is defined as a child who lives in a household with an income less than 60 per cent of the national average. The Government wants to change the definition and may abandon the legal commitment to a significant reduction in child poverty by 2020.

Average real household incomes –  spending power, taking into account inflation – were in a steady upward trajectory from 1997. But the figures show this figure hit the wall in 2010 and actually went into reverse.

Since then, depending on how you calculate the figures, average real household income has dropped between £1664 a year to up to £2132 a year. If you like your figures the traditional way, that s a drop of between £32 a week and £41 a week in what an average household can afford to buy.

The number crunchers sum up just how far the Tory-led coalition turned the clock back on incomes: “Real terms incomes in 2013/14 were around levels seen in 2001/02”, they state.

The hard figures pour an ocean’s worth of cold water over repeated Tory claims that we are basking in economic “sunshine”. And they are now set to step up the onslaught with an additional £12 billion of cuts in social security alone, alongside deeper cuts to public services.

Steve Turner, Unite assistant general secretary said: “The global financial crash has had a devastating impact on average families in work, the poorest and the disabled. The Tory reaction – backed by the Lib Dems – was to reverse the trend of reducing the number of children in poor households.

“The coalition reaction to the global banking fiasco and the problems it created around the world, was to turn it into a public spending problem. On the basis of that lie they have launched a sustained attack on average and poor families, those on welfare and those with disabilities.

“Now the Tories are governing alone they are threatening to broaden and deepen the attack on not just the poorest but the majority of working families – families with two children would lose up £1,690 a year under the cuts to Child Tax Credits alone. They are quietly shredding the welfare safety net and throwing the poorest into the abyss, and growing low paid, insecure work.We must lead the fight to end this attack on working families and the poorest in our society.”




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