Did you know that 1 in 3 children in the UK grows up in poverty?
Eleven years ago, the UK Government promised to end child poverty by 2020.
Next year markes the half way point of this promise but levels of child poverty, while decreasing, are not going down enough to reach this target. Additional investment is needed and Save the Children is calling for an investment of £3 billion to meet the half way target by 2010. Considering that a) the UK Government is rather happy to spend much more money on the banking system and b) that the UK is the 5th richest nation, there doesn't seem to be a valid excuse not to invest this extra money.
In the run up to this year's Budget on 22nd April (that's the one where we want to see a £3 billion investment to end child poverty, by redistributing money to families on low income), we've been running workshops at a number of primary and secondary schools. The kids came up with great stuff, even printing money as one solution. It doesn't need a Chancellor to come up with the idea of quantitative easing! The workshops were great fun and we made sure to run them at schools where poverty is likely to be a massive issue, while making sure children were talking about child poverty in general, rather than about being poor. There is a great stigma attached to poverty and nobody wants to be labelled as poor.
We also got around the new rule of not being allowed to work on asylum issues. Well, not really, but to be honest, if in Glasgow and working with schools in the most empoverished communities, these also happen to be the places where asylum seeking families are housed by the city council. Interestingly, they came up with a different definition of poverty: Not having enough money to them means not having water, food, health care / money for medicine and not being able to go to school.
It was good getting back into some real work after lots of navel gazing and restructuring. Campaigning is something I rather enjoy anyway, though it's not in my job description unfortunately. There'll be another few workshops, and I can't wait for even more practical solutions by children and young people that make much more sense most of the time than the politicians' speak.
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