Saturday, February 7, 2009

Prudence is a criminal and will be suitably punished.

If you have children and you choose to live on less than 60% of the national average income - or even feel you have no choice - this now counts as 'child neglect'. You might have developed (or always known) an especially prudent way of living which means that you and your children are short of nothing. You might prefer to invest your time in your children rather than being out at work all hours, but none of that matters to the people who make our laws and nor will it to those who try to enforce them.

This [opens pdf] document announces the systematic roll-out of an 11-year legislative process which is designed to single out and intervene in all families falling below a certain income level.

The level is high by my standards: way too high. If you are a couple with two children under the age of 14, you will need to be earning £270 per week - after income tax, council tax and housing costs have been deducted, where housing costs include rents, mortgage interest (but not the repayment of principal), buildings insurance and water charges. So if you're paying the average mortgage cost of £132 per week, average council tax of £24 per week and water charges of another tenner or so, you will need to net about £436 per week. Add income tax onto that, and we're looking at, what? A gross salary of £29K. If your annual gross income exceeds that, you are safe from this programme - for now. (A single parent of two children under the age of 14 needs to be earning £189 per week, after income tax, council tax and housing costs have been deducted, where housing costs include rents, mortgage interest (but not the repayment of principal), buildings insurance and water charges.) - Source.

If your Child Tax Credits bring you up to that kind of income, I'm afraid you still won't be exempt. Any families in receipt of any kind of State benefit are included also.

The paper sets out the government's naked agenda:

The Government believes that every parent who could work, should do so.

Digging your vegetable plot doesn't count as work. Fixing your wind turbine doesn't count as work. Raising and teaching your children does not count as work.

The Government will provide all families with a clear route out of poverty. On the other side of this contract, we look to families to make a commitment to improve their situations where they can, to do the best for their children’s well-being and development, and to take advantage of the opportunities on offer. That is why the Government is increasing the expectations that we place on parents in receipt of state support.

I want to see the stick, please. What happens if we refuse to comply? There's only one thing they can do in persistent cases of 'child neglect' isn't there?

Remove the children.


Blogger Ruth said...

What I don't get is how can being forced to work guarantee anyone can earn these ridiculously high incomes?

February 7, 2009 at 5:26 PM  
Blogger Gill said...

Good point Ruth. It can't, of course, but if both parents are working full-time, they will fulfil the requirement to "make a commitment to improve their situations where they can, to do the best for their children’s well-being and development, and to take advantage of the opportunities on offer."

February 7, 2009 at 5:33 PM  
Blogger lotusbirther said...

did you notice there is a short dcsf consultation on this issue? aarrgghh! like pigs forced to activate their own slaughter!

February 8, 2009 at 1:38 AM  
Blogger Gill said...

I did, and it is - that's a good analogy.

I've got quite a few other documents flagged up to read.

February 8, 2009 at 11:13 AM  
Blogger Allie said...

I reckon this sort of thing will need to 're-assessed' as we go through what looks like a hefty economic depression!

February 8, 2009 at 1:15 PM  
Blogger Gill said...

The transnational conglomerates who are acting as 'partners' in the Work for Welfare programmes seem fairly crunch-proof though.

February 8, 2009 at 1:19 PM  
Blogger cosmic seed said...

i can't think which of the many articles/videos I watched/read over te past few days said it, but I believe this idea we all have of these things not working because of economic conditions or fallible systems is a smokescreen. I think these things will all come together incredibly well, and that is a terrifying thought.

February 8, 2009 at 6:45 PM  
Blogger Allie said...

I'd like to see this bit of their vision,
will live in safe, cohesive and prosperous communities where children can thrive,
with safe places to play"
well, the play bit anyway. In York I saw a photo from the sixties where a street was a designated 'play street' during daylight hours. I have never seen such a thing. But we can't have it now because we've taken the streets from the kids and given them to the great god Car. And having one of those is a symbol of economic well-being. Ho hum.

I know what you mean about welfare to work. If we still had trade unions with any power, they might have something to say about forced work schemes at a time of high unemployment.

February 8, 2009 at 10:37 PM  
Blogger Allie said...

Gill, what do you think they want our children for? Or, do you think it'll just be a case of threatening everyone with loss of their children to force them to toe the line?

I do understand your concerns but I also think that too many children do suffer because they are living in poverty.

February 8, 2009 at 10:42 PM  
Blogger cosmic seed said...

Who decides the definition of poverty? Going on these calculations my children live in poverty, but we have a roof over our head, heat, food, clothes. That is not poverty. I really don't think there are many (I'm not saying there are none obviously) children living in this country, in what I would term poverty - ie no roof, no food, no heat, no clothes.

A stick to beat us into submission with seems to be where this is heading - do as you are told or your children will be taken, seems pretty like as a scenario. Neil TMs panopticon at work isn't it? The fear of what could happen will make people self police so *they* won't actually have to do anything much to have us all jumping into line.

February 8, 2009 at 11:07 PM  
Blogger Gill said...

Tech, I agree.

Allie, good point, though the workfare people won't be classed as normal employees, so probably wouldn't be allowed to join a union anyway.

But the unions should be worried, because many normal jobs will have to go to make way for the workfare ones. Oh wait, that's what's happening, isn't it? :-(

I think they probably expect the threat to do the job for them in most cases, but in dissident families they might prefer the children to be removed. I don't know.

"Too many children do suffer because they are living in poverty."

Well, income support, for a breadline income, provides a heck of a lot more than bread these days. And a small wage topped up by Child Tax Credits and Working Tax Credits provides even more.

If UK children really are suffering in poverty, I don't know what their parents are spending the money on.

All the social research papers on the subject refer to things like, not being able to afford the same as all your classmates etc. That's not really suffering, is it? (Or at least it wouldn't be, without the classmates!)

February 9, 2009 at 5:56 AM  
Blogger Gill said...

Tech the Joseph Rowntree Foundation did a lot of work on the definition of poverty in the 90s, as have a lot of other think tanks and researchers. They're mostly talking about relative poverty, but there are many measures and indicators of the different kinds.

This document explains the measure the government is using, and how it's come by it. Im planning to work through it and blog it here sometime this week, but I've been writing about the creeping attack on so-called 'poverty' for a long time - see this post, for example.

They've been working towards this strategy for at least 15 years, IMO.

February 9, 2009 at 6:01 AM  
Blogger Dawny said...

oh my gosh, they come at us at all angles don't they?

Gill you said "I've got quite a few other documents flagged up to read."

could you post a list of links for us to read - or you might already have and i haven't seen it , just found this blog from Debi.

dawniy x

February 9, 2009 at 2:08 PM  
Blogger Dawny said...

ps and can't they just see that most child neglect, bullying, teenage problems etc are because it used to be normal for one parent to always be at home? now both parents are pressured to being out at work . . .it's all wrong - doh - curse, grumble , mutter . . . . .

February 9, 2009 at 2:11 PM  
Blogger jenny said...

Socialism, clear and plain!

February 9, 2009 at 10:12 PM  
Blogger Gill said...

Dawny, there's this one, then there's the one about measuring child poverty and we perhaps need to know more about how they measure it with material deprivations.

I think the link between relative poverty and wilful 'child neglect' is still a tenuous one though, even though they've been working towards strengthening it for years. This is something with which we definitely need to get to grips, although I don't know how much difference we can make to the end results even if we do.

If ever there was an area for some publicly-funded academic research, this is it. But sadly, my income doesn't stretch that far, LOL.

February 10, 2009 at 9:29 AM  
Blogger Gill said...

There's this from Canada:

"Poverty and child neglect are related, but poverty does not cause neglect. Although poverty does not cause neglect, poverty permeates neglecting families.

What is the difference between poverty and neglect?

Poverty is when the caregiver does not have the resources to provide the need. Neglect is when the caregiver has the resources, but chooses not to provide the need. Therefore, neglect is a choice."

February 10, 2009 at 9:34 AM  
Anonymous Sarah said...

Hello! Been reading this with mounting horror - just shows how much attention I pay, I didn't even realise this stuff was going on. Just one thought (and maybe I'm missing something here or just being a bit dim!) but why "2 children under the age of 14" - what's magic about 14?

February 10, 2009 at 10:04 AM  
Blogger Gill said...

Hi Sarah. That's a good question - to which I don't know the answer!

I'd like to find out more about those figures, and where they came from. Another job to do!

February 10, 2009 at 10:41 AM  
Blogger Morgan said...

I, of course, will be exempt from this interference. As a mother on income support - who also works, they will leave me alone.

Why will they leave me alone? Because I am a full-time carer for my severely disabled husband. I officially work 23 hours per day, 7 days a week. I get a voucher for 8 hours free time a month. The other hour, is one hour personal care provided for my husband from a care agency - one hour per day. I'm on duty for the other 23 hours per day.

My wages, via carer's allowance, is about 50 pounds per week. 23 hours, 7 days a week. Considerable less than the national minimum hourly wage. The amount is taken off my income support as it is taxable, so I get about 35 pounds per week as 'my income'.

But it saves me from the proposed nightmare of 'forcing me out back to work'. I can raise my child, because I'm also caring full time for my husband.

But it also means I, and my child, are kept in their version of 'poverty'. But they can't force me out to work... it would cost them to much to replace me.

And if they ever try to attack me for being a bad parent for not having much money? Well,they're a bit stuck there - they pay me.

Madness, isn't it?

February 10, 2009 at 3:35 PM  
Blogger Gill said...

Absolute madness, Morgan.

It looks like there's something very similar afoot in America, btw. What a strange coincidence! ( - Not.)

February 10, 2009 at 3:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

please take the time to read this it suggests the governments/UN agenda is a tad more sinister than feared. Thank you....

also a man that speaks the truth about child removal ..there are thousands of parents out there to afraid to speak out.

February 12, 2009 at 4:05 AM  
Blogger Gill said...

Thanks for the links, Justamum. I've seen quite a bit of Brian Gerrish recently and been very impressed by him and what he's got to say. Everyone should listen to his warnings: they're all backed up by solid evidence and it's crucial that we should all know what's happening.

I was also looking at the UN website yesterday and thinking about the power of treaties too! It's deeply sinister that the very same messages are coming from the UN, EU, US, OECD, UNICEF, NSPCC etc etc. I've been saying for a long time that the family as an institution is under attack and this is now so glaringly obvious that we don't even hear official denials of it any more.

But the fightback is coming. People are waking up and linking up. No wonder they're planning to change the Internet, huh? They'll have to be quick: the cat's already out of the bag.

Your blog looks very interesting too, Justamum.

February 12, 2009 at 4:50 AM  
Anonymous Ali said...

I am beginning to wonder if the introduction of Tax Credits was the start of all this (or part of the process), ie, a way for the Government to discover what people earn, who they can harrass as a result etc, etc.

February 14, 2009 at 5:08 PM  
Blogger Gill said...

Hi Ali, yes I think you're probably quite right. Tax credits also created the high level of dependency that enables them to do this kind of thing wholesale.

It's also a way of maximising profits for the utility industries, banks etc., because when you raise people's incomes, then the cost of those things can rise accordingly. So we're not actually any better off at the end of it all.

So I think there might be a double whammy coming now, or even a triple one:

1. Country goes bust; can no longer pay tax credits;
2. Anti-poverty legislation rolled out: parents all have to work full-time;
3. No proper jobs available: in comes workfare.

Result? Complete slave nation.

I think low income parents need to all unite to try to repel some of this, because unlike the ECM agenda, the anti-poverty programme of legislation hasn't been rolled out yet. We're only at the start of it.

February 14, 2009 at 5:47 PM  
Anonymous Louisa Herbs said...

Course, if poverty is defined as income below 60% of the median, they could eradicate it at a stroke by cutting the ridiculously high wages paid to executives and bankers etc. Then the median would no longer be artificially inflated in the first place and less people would be below 50% of it.... Wonder if they thought of that or if they're hoping we don't?

February 21, 2009 at 5:21 PM  
Anonymous Lanna Rosgen said...

I've tried to contact the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights after reading about the European Human Rights Court upholding the ban on home educating in Germany. I was asking to speak to someone who could advise on how the OHCHR might respond if such an issue were escalated to the UN's human rights courts, but alas, I didn't even get a courtesy acknowlegement of my query. I don't agree with most of what gets posted on WND, but I do think that the wording of the CRC is ambiguous enough that it could be interpreted by courts as either friend or saboteur to the family. Have you read anything on the issue of interpretation of the CRC in various countries and the UN's appeals courts' reactions? Google is not being my friend in this instance! Many thanks for your continued commentary on all of these important issues.

February 23, 2009 at 2:57 AM  
Blogger Gill said...

Excellent point, Louisa.

"Have you read anything on the issue of interpretation of the CRC in various countries and the UN's appeals courts' reactions? "

No I haven't Lanna, but will post here if I do.

February 23, 2009 at 8:19 AM  
Blogger Gill said...

I've written more about 'material deprivation' here.

March 3, 2009 at 8:21 AM  

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