Richard Price

In 2014, child poverty in Hastings was the highest in the South-East, 30 per cent (after housing costs). The figure is likely to rise. The latest Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) report predicts a 40 per cent increase in child poverty. The two causes are; the governments planned tax and benefit reforms, and forecasted growth in average real earnings – that people on low incomes will be unable to match.

Families with children face additional costs and reduced capacity to work.  They can have their benefits sanctioned which causes stress, depression, and results in hardship.

In 2010, Amber Rudd MP signed a personal pledge to work to end child poverty in Hastings and Rye by working as a ‘Child Poverty Champion.’ Have the attempts to bring investment and jobs into Hastings alleviated its child poverty problem? Who is monitoring her progress?

Could it be that children are suffering from the fallout of the banking failures? Experts think that the crisis was caused by light-touch regulation of bankers who were using complex products that they didn’t understand. Trillions has been spent bailing out the banks, a process called Quantitative Easing which has been reported as costing the UK £850bn. This strategy was implemented and the public were told that the banking crisis was caused by an over-inflated state. Since the crash, austerity has been the prevalent dogma. It involves cutting budgets of the things that matter such as feeding children.

The economic research that supported austerity was found to be faulty. Even the International Monetary Foundation (IMF) has doubts about its effectiveness. In 2015 they warned low-risk governments against needless austerity.

The Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) states that one in four children in the UK are growing up in poverty. It doesn’t have to be like this. They propose a triple-lock protection for children’s benefits. This is already in-place for the basic state pension which rises with wage, prices, or inflation, whichever is highest.