Let's invest in our children not HS2.

A shameful 30% of children in the UK are living in poverty, and 70% of them are children of hard-working families.    That is over 4 million children.

Child poverty is increasing in the UK, and it is not difficult to see why.

Tory austerity and poverty wages have pushed families into poverty.

For almost the decade from 2010 to the present, child benefit – a vital lifeline for families struggling to make ends meet – has lost nearly a quarter of its value simply because it has not increased as prices have risen.

Investing in ending child poverty would bring high returns to the economy.

Child poverty matters - it matters a great deal because it represents a crucial link in the causes of poor health.   Childhood obesity, for example, is a significant consequence of poverty.

If we wanted to tackle childhood obesity, we would also want to combat childhood poverty.

But let's examine what that means.  It means ending poverty.  It means creating fairness in the distribution of wealth and opportunity. It means ending poverty wages and insecure jobs.

It means creating an economy with social objectives.  It means not only being tough on childhood poverty but also being tough on the causes of poverty.  We must stop the madness of austerity.

A report from the Joseph Rowntree Trust published three years ago estimated that the cost of poverty to the UK economy was £75 billion annually.   The cost of poverty accounts for £1 in every £5 of public expenditure.

The Tory-led austerity has been economically foolish, as much as it is unfair.

It is staggering that the government can talk casually about the billions required for projects like HS2 without blinking an eye, yet wring their hands at the idea of spending such sums investing in people - taking them out of poverty and giving them a fair opportunity.

HS2, they say, is an investment in vital infrastructure.   So too is an investment in our children.


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