Sefton – Too many children living in poverty and it gets worse across Merseyside’s Boroughs

The Liverpool Echo has the story – see link above

The Echo says the stats are shocking but I fear they are actually quite predictable in many ways.

The recession, cuts in welfare, a low wage economy on Merseyside, unemployment etc, all come together to create a crisis for many children and indeed their families.

The big question is what can be done about it? Many politicians have tried and indeed some have all but promised to eradicate child poverty but it is still with us and presently it is getting worse.

I am sure that many socialists would advocate common ownership and the death of the capitalist economy as the solution but of course such simplistic arguments would not deliver the solution.

Change will only come via every child getting a good quality education, being given the same opportunities in life, by full employment, by a good supply of quality social housing, access to healthy food and health care and of course a fair welfare system. It strikes me that under this dreadful Tory Government none of these essential matters will be addressed in reality despite the spin of Westminster.

So the Tories did want to cut Child Benefit!

Danny Alexander, effectively Mr Osborne’s deputy in coalition, said he was “lifting the lid” on Tory plans which included limiting child benefit and tax credits to two children.

He claimed his party blocked the move, which he said was worth £8bn.

But Mr Osborne said the claims were three years old, and never policy.

So it did happen, it was 3 years ago but if never actually became policy because the Lib Dems effectively blocked it. Note no denial of the pertinent facts here. Sadly the BBC headline is rather misleading or potentially biased in Osborne’s favour.

Gove plans to punish bad pupils’ parents – Community Service or fines?

Michael Gove says that parents who fail to ensure their children turn up to school “ready to learn and showing respect for their teacher” will be punished through measures such as the docking of child benefit payments from parents of habitual truants.

The Daily Telegraph, Page: 12-13 The Independent, Page: 4 Independent I, Page: 8 Daily Mail, Page: 10 Daily Mirror, Page: 19 Yorkshire Post, Page: 10

The principle has some merit because parents should suffer the consequences of their children’s behaviour. Oddly, the day before reading this news item from the LGiU I had been discussing such issues with my fellow Lib Dem Maghull councillor Andrew Blackburn.

Our discussion had been more associated with youngsters involved in ASB and crime but a similar principle applies. Our concern is that when the Police, for example, take a youngster home who has been up to no good in their community some parents can at times show a complete lack of interest in what their children have been doing and the consequences of it.

In such circumstances our view is that the parents need to suffer consequences themselves so it forces them to know what their children are doing and to moderate their behaviour. But we feel the fining parents is not likely to be effective and have come to the conclusion that parents who do not make an effort to control and discipline their children (and indeed to get them to school regularly) should have to do some form of community service.