“We have the resources to ensure every child has enough food to eat, a roof over their head, & the opportunity to develop their creative imagination.”Jeremy Corbyn
We have the means to end child poverty. We just need the political will, writes Jeremy Corbyn MP
In 2015, the Tories’ passed the Welfare Bill in Parliament. Slashing support for the poorest in our society, this appalling piece of legislation contained a range of cruel cuts. Perhaps the cruellest component was the two-child cap on benefits, which limited welfare support to the first two children.
Disobeying an instruction to abstain from the Labour Party whip, 48 of us made our position clear: the Welfare Bill was a heinous policy that would plunge thousands into destitution. We were, sadly, correct. More than half of parents who were hit by the policy were already in work; the policy simply pushed them further into poverty. As for those who were not in work, the policy made it even harder for them to find employment, since they now had less money to spend on childcare or skills training.
I have witnessed the damage this policy has caused to parents and children here in Islington. Our community is home to many large families – where is the morality in saying that the third, fourth or fifth child is less important than the first or second?
It is incredibly disappointing to see both frontbenches in agreement over their support of the 2-child-limit. I have no difficulty in making my position clear: the 2-child-benefits cap should be scrapped immediately. Doing so would lift 250,000 children out of poverty overnight. If this isn’t a priority, what is?
The idea that we cannot afford to do so is ludicrous. Scrapping the policy would cost £1.3 billion. This figure is swamped by the amount we would raise by taxing the wealthiest in our society. Increasing tax on the top 1% of earners to a 50% rate would raise £5 billion. A 1% tax on those worth over £10 million would raise £10 billion. Take your pick!
There’s nothing fiscally responsible about plunging millions of people into poverty. Increasing the income of the poorest people in society is a massive economic regenerator since they spend it in their local community, not in tax havens.
It is a disgrace that more than one in four children grow up in poverty in the sixth largest economy in the world. We have the resources to ensure every child has enough food to eat, a roof over their head, and the opportunity to develop their creative imagination. We just need the political will.
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- This article was originally published by the Islington Gazette.
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