Friday, 29 May 2015

Beat the Poorest Child

What people say, and what they do, are different things. The Queen provided the perfect example on Wednesday. She said that her Government would "promote social cohesion" and "give every child the best start in life." What she meant was "my Government will take £14 billion from welfare."

The Queen takes 15 minutes to deliver her anodyne speech. If you want the real story, you have to read the 103 pages of Background Briefs produced by Prime Minster Cameron's office. Here you will find stuff that Her Majesty forgot to mention - a Buses Bill, and one on Psychoactive Substances, for example.

It is in the detail of the briefings that you find the horrible stuff. It is no surprise to find that the Queen, a mother of four, omitted to mention that her Government would freeze Child Benefits for two years from 2016-2017. As the Child Poverty Action Group pointed out, the Department of Work and Pensions own impact assessment reveals that the freeze "is nine times more likely to hit children than adults." Her Government will keep poor children as poor as possible for as long as possible in the wholly mistaken belief that this will drive their parents into work. "Beat the child and the parent will obey" - it could be a Tory motto.

Her Majesty did deign to tell us that her Government would require "young people to earn or learn." That's an ad-man's catch phrase for a much nastier idea, explained in a little more detail in the briefings: 18-21 year olds will be required to start an apprenticeship, training or community work placement after 6 months of Youth Allowance. If they don't, they will get no allowance. And by the way, the same group will get no housing support payments. Poor families with young parents will be forced to move back in with the grandparents, and mum and dad will both be forced out to work even when their children are tiny.

And why?

All of this is so that Mr Cameron can stick to his pledge, as announced by the lady from Windsor that there shall be "no rises in Income Tax rates, Value Added Tax or National Insurance for the next 5 years."

The Queen could have put it in a nutshell:

"My Government will beat the poorest children so that my Lords and members of the House of Commons don't have to tax the well-off."

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