Thursday, 24 March 2011

Budget Day, March on Saturday

So the budget was neutral, eh?

Not if you're a child growing up in poverty, or if you're on benefits and need a bed or a cooker, or if you're a poor, elderly cold person. Sadly, the media would rather report on arcane fiscal detail rather than on very basic poverty being turned into grinding punishment.

"These reductions will not save great sums of money and are therefore more about punishing vulnerable people than balancing the books."

Sally Copley, Save the Children's head of UK policy, said: "These cuts to the crisis loans will be a huge blow to those families who can't afford basic necessities such as beds and cookers.

"Families living in poverty have no savings and many are scraping by just to put food on the table.

"The crisis loan was the one place people in severe poverty could borrow money to pay for essentials they can't afford, without having to pay interest.

"Sadly they will be left with little alternative but to borrow money from high-interest lenders and loan sharks."

The Misery Index is at a two decade high which the BACP might welcome as an "Opportunity for counsellors" - until we realise that it's only people who can afford it who will approach us privately and student-led counselling agencies are already overbooked.

Our country has already factionalised: trust between different income groups has always been very tentative but when the poor become destitute while the rich pour into London because of the financial welcome we offer (and treat the poor with contempt) riots ensue.  It might be argued that rioting is the only way in which people who are totally marginalised can get any positive change for their communities, which even then is often handled hopelessly.

The cultural aspirations of the rich developers, housing trust and local council upper management,  and people whose lives and homes are perceived as units by these ideological bean counters are very different. Until the desires and lifestyles of the poor are respected rather than manipulated by the middle classes - whether they're architects or counsellors - and until a modicum of empathy is brought into the mix the problems are simply going to continue to cycle.

I know this blog gets quite a few hits and it would be great to know if anyone reading this will be at The March for the Alternative. 

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