Breathing Space Call for Evidence HM Treasury

This call from The Children’s Society just passed by on my screen and I decided to respond to it. Below is my submission.

1. Poverty – worry about debts, about how to acquire necessities such as food for one’s children, and what to pay for first – can cause a drop in IQ of up to 15 points. This indicates how much stress debts can cause for a child’s parents, creating a stressful environment for the child, not to mention various forms of deprivation (for which forced adoption is definitely not the appropriate solution, but I shouldn’t have to explain that).

https://phys.org/news/2013-08-poverty-cognitive-ten-iq.html

https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/11/your-brain-on-poverty-why-poor-people-seem-to-make-bad-decisions/281780/

http://science.sciencemag.org/content/341/6149/976

There are many other publications.

Poverty is also linked to lower physical health, as you know from various studies conducted in Britain. Merely think of the combination of black moulds and cold homes. Tens of thousands of people die in Britain every winter as the result of being unable to afford to heat their homes properly. In insufficiently heated or insufficiently insulated homes, the probability of mould growth due to condensation against cold walls is higher as well. Then add lack of proper nutrition.

2. “Economic inequality harms societies”

Richard Wilkinson and other researchers, in various papers and presentations

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_G._Wilkinson

3. “IMF research has shown that excessive inequality hinders growth and hollows out the country’s economic foundation. It erodes trust within society and fuels political tension.”

Christine Lagarde in a public speech at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, October 2017

4. Low wages are a major cause of poverty hence of debt in Britain. Parents have no control over this.

5. Problems with benefits are another major cause of severe poverty in Britain. Parents have no control over this either, but these issues can aggravate stress immensely, particularly debt-related stress.

6. All humans have human rights and human needs (such as the need for food and shelter), not just a few lucky people for whom fate decided that they were born and are growing up in lucky circumstances. Continue reading