The Scandal of Child Poverty in Modern Britain

By Peter Mills MA PhD.



In the Victorian Era countless children lived in dire poverty. Writer Charles Dickens was so disgusted with the uncaring social politics of his day that he wrote novels spotlighting the plight of the poor, especially the children of the poor. Stories such as “Oliver Twist” were based on a background of fact and began to open the eyes of the privileged classes to the appalling conditions in which the underprivileged existed.

Progress in safeguarding underprivileged British children was horribly slow but nevertheless plodded on, under the encouragement of many enlightened humanitarian thinkers and activists.

Unfortunately, it is a true saying that “history repeats itself”. Britain under the Labour and Tory administrations of the last twenty years or so has regressed back to the days of working-class poverty, illness, malnutrition, starvation and death. Before I can be accused of exaggeration, distorted views or “spouting Nationalist propaganda”, allow me to submit the following facts for consideration. If you have not already heard or read these facts in the news, they may come as a bit of a shock to you.

There are now officially 3.6 million children living in poverty in Britain. The number is growing. A report compiled by the National Children’s Bureau shows that “…the inequality and disadvantage suffered by poorer children 50 years ago still persists today” (1).

The Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, the Chairman of which is a former Health Secretary (Alan Milburn), has lambasted the present Tory government (the risible Lib Dems can be entirely ignored, as the Prime Minister ignores them) for the pathetic inadequacy of its child poverty strategy which has no possibility of working.

The government’s “Child Poverty Promise” to reduce the number of British children who live in poverty to 10% within ten years from 2010 has been branded as “doomed to failure” by a report from the charity. (2).

Alan Milburn is quoted as stating that government policies for dealing with increasing levels of child poverty in Britain “…falls far short of what is needed…” and are “…a farce…” with current research demonstrating that “…the gap between the objective of making child poverty history and the reality is becoming ever wider…”

Alison Garnham of the Child Poverty Action Group has perfectly summed up the cause and effect of the failure of government policies on poverty in Britain, stating: “…It’s not fair to punish millions of families with children for an economic crisis caused by the banks!” (3)

The report by the charity also blames the government for not taking into account in its projected figures the dramatic surge of national poverty resulting from its own savage and unscrupulous welfare cuts, which are penalizing the innocent as well as the guilty, and probably more of the innocent than the guilty.

Mr. Milburn has also exposed the damning fact that the government’s main procedure for reducing child poverty is to invent increasingly devious methods of massaging the figures in order to disguise the real truth. It seems that the government’s “Angel of Death” – otherwise known as Iain Duncan Smith the Work and Pensions Secretary – has suggested the child poverty figures will look much better if estimates of a child’s poverty status include having access to a good education, a “decent” home and a stable family (with the government, of course, deciding what a good education, a “decent” home and a stable family should consist of). One cannot help but wonder what planet Iain Duncan Smith lives on – it is certainly not the planet Reality! (4)

If you are disturbed during the night by a distant scraping noise, it is probably Charles Dickens turning in his grave!



1. http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2013/08/25/320480/uk-child-poverty-hits-36-million/

2: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-26362035

3. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-27734513

4. http://sparaszczukster.wordpress.com/2013/08/25/duncan-smith-wants-to-change-the-legal-definition-of-child-poverty-so-he-can-eradicate-it-in-time-for-the-election/


6 thoughts on “HISTORY REPEATS

  1. I really think it’s quite ludicrous to compare Victorian poverty with today.

    It’s certainly true that all too many children are fed appalling diets and are grossly overweight but that’s hardly due to poverty. I don’t notice children in ragged clothes or rickets lately either.

    The figure for poverty employed is relative poverty. Sure there are lots of people who are very poor compared with the rich and you can argue about that – but absolute poverty nah! Presenting relative poverty as absolute poverty is a favourite tactic of the left and charities to advance their cause.

    The fact is that the benefits system is so comfortable that people have children they can’t support and have no intention of supporting when they can go on the parish. The public have sussed it and are fed up with it. That is precisely one of the huge draws for immigrants from all over the world.

    You can certainly rightly complain about dreadful cases of sick people being denied benefits and the sanctioning of people signing-on and not getting jobs when they can’t for all kinds of reasons. But widespread genuine child poverty – no.

  2. I’ m very suspicious of statistics about poverty. The definition of poverty is 60% of median income. This means that there will always be poverty simply because of the way it is defined.

    It means that one can be ‘poor ‘ in this country and still be able to run a car and take a holiday – both things my lower middle class family never managed throughout my childhood in the 50s and 60s. I can’t say we missed them much. The poor people in this country live like kings thanks to state benefits compared to most of the third world, which is why so many of them fall over themselves to get here,

    Poverty in Dicken’s time meant not having enough to eat and having no shoes – real poverty.

    The fact that poor people, so called can live reasonably well in Britain supported by those who think they are caring, is one good reason why so many of them don’t make the personal effort to better themselves.

  3. While many things are wrong with our society to-day, it is surely exaggerating to compare modern times with Charles Dickens’ England, leaving aside for a moment the point that Charles Dickens was himself describing a state of affairs that was thankfully receding rapidly into the past even as he wrote: the ghastly rookeries that he depicts were in truth more a feature of eighteenth than nineteenth century London.

    Malnutrition is not rife in modern England. The isolated cases that do occur are the result of failures of parenting and failures by social services to intervene in grossly dysfunctional families, not of a shortage of affordable food.

    The Child Poverty Action Group may do some good work, but it focusses on a test of relative poverty, not absolute poverty. The consequence of applying such a test is that unless incomes tend to equalise, there will always be relative poverty, even if incomes and living standards are rising across the board.

  4. Today poverty is measured by how large one’s flat screen TV is.
    The real poverty is in the prospects and future of vast tracts of white people. Which of course are nil. That’s poverty, or if you wish, genocide.

    The Marxoids know that cake and circuses help their ideology to get support.

  5. What is referred to by many politicians and media as poverty today is nothing remotely like the genuine poverty of many white working class people in Britain in both that era and before. If anyone is suffering today from malnutrition in Britain today it is not down to lack of money or food. Many people who have the lowest incomes today smoke, drink and keep pets, even those who are on benefits. These things could never be afforded by those who were desperate just for a crust. If children are malnourished today it is because of neglect by parents or guardians, with social services absurdly being blamed when something terrible happens.

    The fecklessness, laziness and immorality of today’s scrounging classes bear no comparison to Dickensian poverty. It is often reported that there is an underprivileged class in Britain, normally portrayed as immigrants. How anyone in modern Britain can be called underprivileged is beyond me, because there is money and housing given to those who are deemed most in need (immigrants being highest priority as they have no other family here who the can be told they must continue to live with). Free healthcare for all, free education up to university level for all, these are privileges which our Dickensian ancestors could only dream of.

  6. The true crime towards our white working class is the failure of our education system to provide the youth of today with the qualifications and experience needed in the modern workplace. Our schools are now so overcrowded with immigrants that teachers don’t have the time to properly educate our young ones.

    Not enough time, we’ve got to teach English first.

Leave a Reply