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Hidden by Brexit saga: the shocking figure for children in poverty

24 May, 2019

• YOUR article Washing clothes, serving breakfast… how schools help the breadline kids on May 17 picks up another important report smothered by Brexit: an estimated 22,000 children in Islington living in poverty.

While the whole question of poverty may be open to question, both Channel 4 News and The Guardian newspaper picked up on related stories which lead us to damning conclusions about the kind of country we have created by electing and re-electing austerity governments.

The international group Human Rights Watch has accused the UK government of breaching its international duty to keep people from hunger by pursuing “cruel and harmful policies” with no regard for the impact on children living in poverty.

Examining family poverty in Hull, Cambridgeshire and Oxford, it concluded that tens of thousands of families do not have enough to eat.

The Guardian has, in the last few days, noted that schools in Oxford and elsewhere have been using food banks to feed hungry pupils. The BBC reports that a school in Norfolk has started its own food bank to help families of its pupils.

And there are even stories circulating that some teachers are feeding breakfast from their own salaries to avoid the stress hunger puts on learning.

In the same week, the Office for National Statistics reported the poorest fifth of the population as growing poorer in the last financial year while the richest fifth grew richer. Even so, we keep voting for governments which impose austerity, or even vote for parties without a manifesto at all.

MIKE CROWSON
Islington Green Party

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