Tuesday 7 June 2011

Poor Kids; 'From the mouthes of babes...'

The BBC documentary on the life of kids living in low income families was completely depressing.  Poor kids from Leicester, Bradford and Glasgow told their stories of missing meals, living with illness, worrying about debt and generally feeling insecure and worthless.

The kids were amazing and articulate, putting into words the realities of life on the edge. Here, in one of the richest economies in the world, hundreds of thousands of kids live with this hell.. 1 in 6 of poor kids has considered suicide. Poor families pay over £1200 than average families on credit charges and extra fuel charges (metered). Kids live with terrible housing conditions (1 million kids live in housing considered 'unfit' to live in) and with nowhere safe to play.

The stories of the damp bedrooms brought back terrible memories of my own childhood. I recall that in one council house I lived in, my bed linen was perpetually mouldy, and I was constantly ill. But you would hope that life in 1970's Britain was significantly worse than 2010. Not true. The same problems apply today, because capitalism always ends ins a hierarchy, with the wealthy often completely ignorant of life at the bottom of the pile.

People will always find reasons to blame the poor. The Tories, the press, even the last Labour government found it easy to scapegoat the poor (though at least with Labour, the 'Surestart' programme was designed to help those with least) I hope though, that these stories, told so eloquently from these kids, cannot so easily be ignored. 'From the mouthes of babes', the truth of poverty will be heard.


  1. Almost as depressing as the program is the knee-jerk reaction of a liberal blaming it on capitalism!!!

    So there wasn't poverty under Communism or in the few marxist states that remain?

    And SureStart (ask most head teachers) is a bit of an unmitigated waste of money. Great intentions - granted. But the state just doesn't deliver 'care'. The 'State' doesn't care - it's an institution. People care.

    There is something that cripples even more children than material poverty - poverty of spirit. Thank God we know the One who provides a solution - and it isn't a politician of any persuasion.

  2. I live in one of the poorest neighbourhoods in the country and have to pay £1800+ on my car insurance (9 years ncb and no claims or conviction- stdd family saloon). If i move away (leaving friends, family and a life time of social networks) i can save £1400 pounds a year. Capitalism knows how to ensure the balance doesn't doesnt shift.
    I am lucky to have a decent job and career and can foot the bill without too much strain. My neighbourhood has an avg salary of £10k a year!! We are too busy trying to put bread on the table to have time to challenge people in power.
    Capitalism knows how to keep people in place.