back to article Imagine! Government to legislate against badness

It's official: the government is today publishing a bill that will make child poverty illegal. A surprise announcement from the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) explains that the new child poverty bill will enshrine in law a duty to eradicate child poverty by 2020, "so that all children have the best start …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In other news...

    ...The government has announced an end to unemployment. Everyone is guaranteed a job. Anyone who doesn't have a job must not have a desire to work, and is no longer elligible for state benefits.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Well, that's just great

    Oh great! The problem with ideas like this is that whilst it is a very noble thing to want children to have proper upbringings with every opportunity to thrive, the parents get in the way!

    Any money that would be directed towards the home will, inevitably be controlled by said parents, you know, the mouth breathing, we've got the full Sky package and still manage to go out Friday\Saturday night whilst never having done a days work since the 80's because 'Thatcher took me job'.

    I work in education, and have to post anonymously, but good God! Some of the people bringing up kids these days you wouldn't even trust to bring home a goldfish from a fair! Ant they're the honest ones!

    Oh, and I forgot to bitch about the ever increasing tax bill that will ensue as more and more money is poured into more and more Sky packages and cheap lager!

  3. Mike Richards Silver badge

    Slippery words

    Do they mean 'absolute poverty' or 'relative poverty'?

  4. TeeCee Gold badge

    Now it's all gone silly.

    Since when did policy documents and their associated "goalposts on castors" targets need to be enshrined in law?

    Are they behind on their pointless legislation quota in Westminster this week or something?

  5. Tony S
    Flame

    Welcome to the 19th Century

    There was an attempt to this back in the mid 1800's - effectively trying to make poverty against the law so that the authorities could throw you in gaol if you were found to be without means of support. This is partly where the workhouses and the debtors prisons that featured so heavily in several Dickens novels came into being.

    I saw Yvette Cooper talking about this morning on the news - lying, arrogant, sanctimonious, excuse for a human being.

    What it really comes down to is that that the current government want to control every aspect of your lives - the social workers, police, LGOs and others are effectively becoming political commissars. They will tell you what to do, how to think, how to behave - but of course these rules don't apply to the political masters. Orwell was 100% correct - "All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others."

    We need a "burn them at the stake" icon - so this will have to do.

  6. Jack Harrer
    Thumb Down

    Yeah

    Child poverty is specified as FAMILY income less that 60% of average income. That means they will give even more cash as benefits, without actually helping in any constructive way. So more cash to people who can't be arsed to work, more cash to addicts with kids, and so on. At the end of the day all that cash will go to parents not kids, so only ones benefiting will be pubs. Judging by state of economy that is not viable anyway.

    Probably the only way to help those kids would be to invest sensibly in education system - but that requires some hard work and consultations not shitty piece of worthless paper.

  7. Rob 30

    wtf is child poverty?

    surely all children are pretty much broke by definition.. i know my paper round most likely wouldn't have fed and housed me, back in the day.

  8. Nebulo
    Thumb Up

    Cool

    So, in future all our poor kids can be adopted by Madonna. Sounds good to me. If they extend it to the old and sick maybe I'll get a decent retirement after all ... I'd even be prepared to put up with all that Kabbalah crap.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Solution to povety very rarely found through additional .gov spending & churning

    Where do children get their money? From their parents. Where do parents get their money? From going to work. What if their parents have no work? Well then their children will be poor. What about all those gaps in the middle where the parents have work, earn money, but they spend it all on gambling or drinking while their children starve at home? Well... people get drunk or indulge in other reckless and destructive behaviour as a means of escape. If people are happy in their jobs and happy with the way their society runs then less people will be looking to get out of their box on stella or chase that 'big win' down at the dog track. In many cases, the way to achieve greater happiness is to deregulate and stop trying to make things 'fair' for people. 'Making fairness' happen through regulation and law has a terrible tendency to fail. It's a shame we are conditioned to believe fairness can be delivered this way by politicians using social engineering as a means to that end. Legislating to make people moral has the opposite effect. People become less aware of any requirement for morality if they aren’t every required to apply moral reasoning to anything they ever face.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    Common Sense?

    How about a law for that too?

  11. A B 3
    Black Helicopters

    Woah

    Your Gov has seriously gone Big Brother.

    Don't worry motherland we will send our boomerang infantry to rescue you.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sisyphus.

    So, if we increase income what happens to the figure formed by the phrase "60% of average income"?

    Healthcare and education aren't income. If we gave low income families the money instead of healthcare and education does that make them more or less poverty stricken?

    If you have healthcare, education, food, shelter, heating, a fridge and enough money for beer are you in poverty?

    Is a household with 15 children earning 61% of the average income in more or less poverty than a family with one child on 59% of the average income?

    How crap is the measure of poverty?

  13. Beelzeebub
    Flame

    Urgh...

    Being unhappy is all we live for in this godforsaken midden of a country.

    Might have to emigrate to Japan.

  14. Anonymous John

    Wow!

    I can see the "no win no fee" lawyers rubbing their hands.

    "Are your children poor for no fault of yours......."

  15. Myopic Aardvark
    Black Helicopters

    Anyone else reminded...

    ....of that Ben Elton book where there's a law passed declaring that "Everyone is Famous"?

    I'd expect the official standard of poverty to state that you're only in poverty if you owe more than the government (which, if you are, you'll be arrested as a terrorist, removing you from said statistics through some unknown subclause)

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Smells fishy to me

    Yeah, lock up all those poor kids, they make the place look bad.

    Department for Children, Schools and Families...more like the Department for Social Engineering, Political Correctness and Nannying if you ask me.

    Don't trust em, they've too much power.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How to fix all our ills...

    This wouldn't require another DATABASE of lots of unprotected personal information would it, by any chance...?

  18. MnM
    Thumb Down

    twats

    That sounds to me like a policy, not a law. Not going gracefully, then.

  19. Pete 2 Silver badge

    a movable feast - an unwinnable war

    povert! Whether you talk about relative poverty (the poorest X% of the population) or absolute poverty - not having (access to) certain goods, services or opportunities, it's not something you can beat. Putting aside the mathematical certainty that you can never remove the lowest X% of anything, as soo as you do the X% just above that becomes the lowest - and so on. But so far as absolute poverty goes, once you get past a bowl of rice to eat and a cardboard box to live in, you become subject to value judgements.

    In this country the great and the good start upping the ante: health care - no brainer, education - well, yes but to what level? a TV to watch Hmmmmm, OK so long as it's not a 50-inch plasma. Howabout access to books, are you "poor" if you can't afford a mobile phone? Some (Joseph Roundtree foundation have argued) would say yes. Car? - there's a tricky one: all the London-based trendy/greeny types would have a fit, but live in the country and it's a must.

    And so it goes on, as every new thing is invented it goes from being a gimmick to a luxury to commonplace to a necessity. There's a case to be made that internet acccess (a la the gummint's latest initiative of 2MBit/s for everyone) is headed that way too.

    All of this reflects our increasing standard of living, rather than things which are necessary for basic life (going back to the bowl of rice). And all the time, the nagging question that everyone is afraid to ask: "who pays for all this stuff, for all these people?".

    What's the answer? Who knows. Will this initiative win votes? Probably, and when all is said and done that decides whether the govt. thinks it's a good idea.

  20. Martin 47

    phew

    I thought you said baldness!

  21. Brett Brennan 1

    King Canute comes to mind...

    Enough said. Poverty is a relative concept: here in the US our most impoverished street person lives like a king compared to a Somalian worker. Make it what ever you want: you can't beat the Bell Curve...

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Penalties?

    What's the point of giving the power to hand out punishment to the responsible Secretary of State? They're the one who's supposed to make sure this works. They can't be thinking of disciplining themselves! (insert obligatory Tory deviant behaviour joke of your choice here)

    I suppose they could take the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the day to court "they didn't give me the necessary funding in the budget to do the job, your honour"

  23. This post has been deleted by its author

  24. DJ 2
    Joke

    I am I the only one that read the title as.

    Imagine! Government to legislate against baldness

    If you have a receeding hairline you get put in prison....eek.

  25. Hollerith 1

    Didn't we have the cure a few decades ago?

    Decent state and grammar schools, free university education, so kids with potential could go to the best school and hence to university, and the kids that weren't that high-flying got a good education and the choice of other education if they wanted it, e.g. proper apprenticeship schemes, tech colleages, that sort of thing.

    Plus, teachers with time to concentrate on the kids and be alert to signs of neglect, distress, etc., instead of being up to their ears in Govt paperwork.

    Health care that covered everything, with doctors who had time and continuity with families.

    Decent overview of families on benefits to encourage the good'uns who were on the wrong side of luck to stay afloat, plus a watchful eye on families where the parents couldn't be trusted to raise a gerbil, let alone a child.

    Sort of sounds like the UK in the 1970s. More or less.

  26. Jerome 0
    Thumb Down

    Utterly useless

    "the Bill contains a regulation making power exercisable by the Secretary of State to set out the steps he will take to meet them"

    A bill of law is now required to give the Secretary of State the power to "set out some steps"? Jesus, it's no wonder our politicians are so ineffectual.

  27. Jez Burns
    Thumb Down

    Do they really care?

    Nice to see Government get back to joyriding constitutional law again. Can we have some more child poverty databases too so we can feel good looking at made-up statistics on a computer screen? It would be interesting to see the full costs of this Government's vanity legislation over the past ten years - meaningless drivel that is contradictory, unintelligible, and clogs up the entire legal system as judges try (in the best cases) to make sense of it, or (in the worst cases) to protect the weakest in society from being completely shat on *. I would guess the costs of this Government's endless legislation spew would run to hundreds of millions of pounds. Of course, we wouldn't want this money to go on things like feeding and clothing children, rebuilding sink estates to give people somewhere dignified to live, or a decent education system. We'd far rather see government sponsored infomercials, databases and long-term-child-unwealth-delivery-monitoring-and-classification quangos.

    And what of the impact of this Government's more recent fiddle with the legislature on child poverty- abolishing legal aid for defendants in criminal cases? "It's means tested" they wail. Is £3000 per year income really above the poverty line? It is the poorest in society who are most likely to find themselves in court for a crime they did not commit, especially when you have a police force cut to the bone by obsessive target hunting and a Government who do not understand, or care about the concept of 'innocent until proven guilty', who are both happy to see innocent people punished just to bolster the stats. You now pay your legal fees even if you are acquitted of a crime. I repeat, even if you are found innocent. If you are poor, whether or not you have children living below the poverty line, thanks to this Government, you have the choice of accepting prison, or parting with money you do not have if you are accused of a crime.

    In short, this Government could not give a piss about child poverty. They just want to look good, and make their political opponents look bad through Orwellian logic. By opposing ridiculous and ineffectual legislation like this, you are naturally in favor of child poverty. I am obviously in favor of kicking puppies, as I would oppose any new puppy-kicking directive.

    I hope the public will finally start to pay some attention to what these arseholes are really doing to the legal system.

    * custodial sentences for some repeat ASBO breakers are indeterminate- you are released from prison when the review board says you can be released. Unfortunately the review board can't handle their case load, and if it wasn't for judges refusing to hand down disproportionate punishments for minor crimes, tens of thousands, rather than hundreds of kids would be rotting in prison. Another thing not a lot of people know.

  28. Mycho Silver badge

    Ah, hell, it's Friday

    Meet the government adviser who came up with this plan (It's at 1:15 in the video)

    http://www.gofasterstripe.com/cgi-bin/website.cgi?showclip=2&id=2242

  29. Cameron Colley

    Easy solution.

    Simply tax those without children more until the 40% of the population in poverty are those without children.

    Or, in other words, this is absolute bullshit as usual.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Law to require PM be Elected!

    Can we have a law to require that the leading party ELECT the Prime Minister next time?

    I see he's surrounding himself with Lords & Celebs. Lords because they can't topple him in a coup (unelected Lords can't be Prime Minister). They also have no seat to lose in an election, so don't care if the country wants him out, and Celebs for a bit of press.

    The danger here is that he tries to hang on in power, the inflation/devaluation of sterling kicks in from his last round of 'quantitative easing' . He then tries another massive spending and money printing spree (which would have to be bigger than the last to achieve the same effect), sterling collapses. UK gets to experience what real hunger is like, just like Russian did when the Rouble collapsed.

    Then the next government has a lot more to fix than *child* poverty.

    When the Bank of England buys treasuries and issues currency, it has to find ways to force that money into the economy because interest rates are already low (e.g. it buys toxic assets at fake inflated prices, so some other trick). That necessarily attacks confidence in sterling because the money grows faster than the real economy it is supposed to represent.

    UK imports a lot of stuff, you have to sooner or later pay for these in real money.

    If foreign government won't buy UK Government debt, how long will they keep accepting the Government debt in the form of backing for £ ? You see the danger if Brown goes crazy with the money printing machine to make a bubble for the next election.

  31. Christoph Silver badge
    Flame

    Here we go again

    So the government will define an official method of measuring child poverty. And all effort will go on that official measure rather than on how well off children are. Like the hospital waiting times, where you get moved from the first queue to the second queue so that your time in the first one is under the limit - and nurses who could be helping you spend their whole day on meaningless nonsense just to get the official figure down. The same will happen to the kids - the official figure will be the only thing that matters.

  32. ElFatbob

    more shite from a government full of it..

    that's all really.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    did anyone actually...

    ...Read the article? All this is is the govenment saying the government will reduce poverty levels, and that if it doesn't then the government is authorized to have the government plan for steps for the government to take to fix it. Silly and useless, but not precisely the same as jailing poor kids. Jeez... You wouldn't think that would be so hard to figure out...

  34. Shakje

    So none of the people who have posted so far

    have actually read the story. It's a bill aimed at pushing the government to end child poverty and that's no bad thing. It may just be an election gimmick, but there's no possible way to spin it to them somehow locking up children or parents, or in fact a way of controlling people. I don't actually understand how someone can make such a nonsensical leap. At the end of the day you can be cynical about it, but it's still either a good thing while it lasts or something that won't change the situation, it's definitely not something negative..

  35. SmallYellowFuzzyDuck, how pweety!
    Stop

    Ask my wife about this!

    My wife works in a "Non IT" industry, known as social housing that houses people considered to be in "Poverty" you wouldnt believe what a good career move living in poverty can be....

    Steps to get into "Poverty" are as follows:

    If you are renting, etc, just refuse to pay all your bills, rent, leccy, council tax, loans etc. They are soon out on their arse on the streets, it *really* helps to have kids as well, even more so if the drug dealing boyfriend is absent (Most of them don't know who the father is anyway)

    You will then qualify for "Poverty" at which point you go to the top of the housing list and they get their own place. All bills are paid for such as rent, council tax, water, electricity also including the Sky TV.

    They also have extra powers to get out of paying stuff ordered from catalogues, they end up in court and because of the "Poverty" status they only end up having to back pay a pound a week.

    Everytime they pop out a new kid, they get a grant for "furnishing" which means a new Plasma TV every few years.

    You can earn somewhere up to 20 to 30 thousand per year living in "Poverty"!

    If you are a single bloke you will be further down the housing list, however if you have been just released from prison or have a drug habit it *really* helps! This will get you on the gravy train in no time.

    My wife loves her job but also dispairs at the life style these feckless people qualify for. And these horrible people just keep demanding more and more.

    So yes, they can now demand their Sky TV package because now it will be THE LAW!

  36. Jez Burns
    Happy

    @Shakje

    I don't think any of the people posting here seriously believe the Government intend to lock up parents for spending all their money on beer rather than their kids. They are mostly pointing out the ludicrousness of a government producing empty and nonsensical legislation which could never be enforced, just to pass on a 'message'. As for it not being something negative, check out my post above for ideas about how it could be exactly that..

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    gotta

    Here's what you need to get started - raise the tax break to £11,000 which is the minimum income to be just above the poverty line. That would help every poor household in the country.

  38. frank ly Silver badge

    You are next in line

    "..Readers should lookout for laws that guarantee world peace and an end to all disease. We would not be entirely surprised if, by this time next year, it has been made a crime to be unhappy."

    Just you wait until they outlaw sarcasm and cynicism. (Journalistic 'humour' will be no defense.)

  39. John F***ing Stepp

    I have been legally bald for years.

    And I do not see why I should be tracked down and . . .

    Oh wait.

  40. unscarred
    Boffin

    Poison Pill

    This law means that after the Conservatives win the next election they'll be tested annually against moving goalposts - the better they do the higher that 60% of the average gets in real terms, so sooner or later they'll fail.

    Given the state of the country's finances, it'll be sooner.

    When they fail they will be subject to a judicial review, which will make them look bad. Their only alternative is to try and repeal the law through parliament - which will make them look really bad.

    In other words, it's just a trap to generate good headlines when Labout are in opposition.

  41. robert cooke

    section them

    are there grounds for having these idiots sectioned? surely two doctors could be found to sign the required certificates.

  42. A B 3

    Re: Reading the article

    It is part of larger trend to legislate everything. It is probably going back to the old days where you get put in the block (I can't remember what you call it) for sleeping in on a Sunday.

  43. Graham Marsden
    Thumb Down

    The Bill contains a regulation...

    ... making power exercisable by the Secretary of State to set out the steps he will take to meet them.

    Whilst the "set out the steps" doesn't exactly sound like a massive sanction, I'm just a little worried that this will turn into some form of "enabling legislation" where all sorts of other dubious laws can be pushed through because "well, they'll help with child poverty and we're legally obliged to 'do something' about it..."

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    This is a great idea

    Who do I email to get my kid taken out of poverty?

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    MIddleclass Rag, Middlecalls tits moaning about the Poor being Rich

    You people really are stupid aren't you, you don't even realise what your saying or where your coming from half the time.

    Yes people take advantage of the system, the system is stupid, why give money when you could have a voucher scheme that forces people to only buy for or to buy clothes.

    No amount of Middleclass anger at the heavy taxes paying for layabouts can reverse the fact that most of us make a living off the back of these people I know did in the finance sector.

    It's always the fault of the layabout, people aren't born lazy the world makes em that way, if we could find out what the variables or causes are in society then we'd be sorted, so less moaning more thinking numbskulls !

  46. Futaihikage
    Thumb Down

    I need a government job

    I thought day dreaming away my day in a chair in my server room was fun, but these morons get paid more and get to make idiotic laws! Children have no money... they are supported by their parents.. what if the economic climate changes? I thought we had that wonderful word of "inflation" still flittering around. How can they guarantee everyone has money? This will be exploited to DEATH by greedy lawyers, lazy people with no work ethic and idiotic law enforcement.

    I need some of what these officials are smoking....

  47. Chris Miller

    There are lies, damned lies, ...

    Relative* poverty is defined (somewhat arbitrarily) as having less than 60% of the median income. The late unlamented Mr Blair promised to reduce child poverty, so the clever men in Downing Street targeted small amounts of extra benefits at those earning just below the poverty line. Mirabile dictu, apparent poverty duly reduced - trebles all round!

    *Absolute poverty is usually defined as living on less than $2 a day, something we should really be targeting for reduction (though it ain't simple or easy). I personally can't get too worked up about poverty defined as "too poor to afford a second plasma screen".

  48. Lost in a maze of twisty comments, all alike.

    @A B 3

    Thanks for sending the cavalry, wouldyou like this firewall software our government has decided against ? it works great and only copies your browsing to the intelligence services, not to phorm or anyone unethical like that.

  49. RW

    Cynicism

    "Cynics might wonder whether a bill to eradicate poverty is nothing more than a political stunt in the run-up to the General Election"

    Not cynics. All thoughtful people. And not "wonder whether". Try "know".

    The real cynics are Labour, its minions and acolytes. Disgusting people. I feel nauseous and I'm what?, 5000 or 6000 miles from them.

    Is Labour so disconnected from reality to think that this sort of posturing persuades anyone at all? Of course, the poor may welcome this bill: they're not stupid and they may see an opportunity to increase their income.

  50. spam 1

    Child poverty is reducing

    The recession, job losses and pay freezes are no doubt reducing the average family income which according to the farcical definition used will reduce child poverty.

    Politicians really do live in some kind of la-la land where taxing the rich and burning the money would be considered to be reducing child poverty.

    WTF is it with child poverty anyway? When I were a lad 5 of us lived in a 2 bedroom cottage with no running water and an outside elsan toilet which my old man had to empty into a hole he dug in the garden once a week. Am I not a victim of child poverty? Shouldn't someone be prosecuted? Can I sue someone for it?

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Perhaps the question is...

    ... how does one legislate against misanthropy?

    The fact that a government needs to legislate tells one how bad the situation is and I'd guess that the perps are probably government employees anyway.

    But, as far as the UK goes, government agencies are terribly difficult to tie down. It would be reasonable, under current UK practice, for an inspector witnessing a criminal act on inspection to grant the local authority 3 months while the inspector reviews and files one's papers.

    Lack of accountability and an equal lack of urgency give rise to horrendous difficulties.

    eg: a local authority would view 3 months minus 1 day as optimal timeline to effect a change over a criminal action.

    Misanthropy for misanthropes?

    Alternatively anti-misanthropy for anti-misanthropes?

  52. Disco-Legend-Zeke

    The dole was implemented as a military measure.

    Poverty caused puny draftees. Indeed the original purpose of the dole was to feed the impoverished so they would be better soldiers.

  53. Big Pete

    Don't do it

    It'll all just end in tears

    http://tinyurl.com/32jmev

  54. Mycho Silver badge

    @Perhaps the question is...

    "The fact that a government needs to legislate tells one how bad the situation is"

    Perhaps the real question is whether they need to legislate or are just legislating for no reason other than to pretend to be doing something about it? It strikes me as the latter.

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @MIddleclass Rag, Middlecalls tits moaning about the Poor being Rich

    I'm guessing reading is beyond your level of comprehension as your post has nothing to do with the comments here or the article (I double checked.)

    Why do people think that the only people in poverty are the unemployed? A large number of hard working people are in poverty, the kind of people who have two part time jobs and still come below 11k a year yet still get taxed like everyone else. They're the group that deserve the most help, and alot of people on benefits are there in large part due to that anomaly - Why get a hard, low paid job, when you only get a small amount more then you would on benefits after tax?

    The benefit system may need re-working, but the tax-break needs raising and it needs raising now - and yes it means those above the tax break paying more tax and probably a reduction in benefits- but hey life sucks.

  56. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Just a stick to beat the next government with

    After all, even the nasty party couldn't repeal a law against poverty, could they?

  57. Gilbert Wham

    @SmallYellowFuzzyDuck

    No. No, you bloody can't. I'm not entirely sure you have a wife, but if you do, she's having you on, believe me.

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Simple answer

    The simple answer is to offer every female over the age of consent £2000 if she agrees to have an IUD fitted. This will end the supply of children feeding into the system.

  59. night troll
    Pirate

    Did anyone else ....

    .....read that as Department for Children, Schools and Fantasies?

    I must have slep for ages, is it April 1st already?

    @ Brett Brennan "Make it what ever you want: you can't beat the Bell Curve..."

    No, but, it would be nice to beat this .gov Bell End sometimes.

  60. Frantisek Janak
    Coat

    I'd have..

    A Modest Proposal...

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Simple Answer

    I think you will find that giving all males of the species the snip is _far_ more effective and not much more expensive than fitting IUD's.

  62. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nonsense upon stilts

    This clearly shows that (as I keep saying) the present NuLab government is way, way to the right of the Conservatives. It's so far right it meets Stalin coming the other way (and might even surprise him in a couple of ways).

    The whole idea of eradicating child poverty is hopeless, largely because the very idea of child poverty in a country like Britain is absurd. The poorest in our country are far better off than people who are thought to be reasonably well heeled in some places. Compare British children's lives with those in Zimbabwe: now that is real poverty.

    In what ways are British children poor? What do they lack that they ought to have (that can be bought with money, of course)? Do they have the wrong kind of trainers - ones that cost less than £100? Are they deprived of 96-inch plasma TVs and the very latest Playstations?

    In fact, the most important things that children need are those that cannot be bought with money. Love. Attention. Being taken seriously. Role models. Discipline (yes, really). Education. And yet this government, which has done its level best to prevent anyone being able to buy a good education, yet which relentlessly pulls down the level of state education, whines about child poverty!

    Yes, poverty as measured by this ridiculous apology for a government is *relative*! If the average person gets twice as rich, those who only get a quarter richer will now be poor! That's insane for a start. Then, children are poor by definition: they aren't legally allowed to own property! So all you can do is measure their parents' wealth. How on earth does that help? One family may not have two beans to rub together, yet lavish love and attention on its children, providing them with superb at-home education, excellent home-cooked nutrition, and plenty of natural healthful exercise. Another family may have millions, but neglect its children disgracefully, send them to schools where they are miserable to get them out of the way, feed them on fashionable garbage, and deprive them of any chance to get exercise.

    In any case, who ever said that wealth is the key to happiness, health, wisdom, or even future prospects? Andrew Carnegie began life dirt poor, yet became a billionaire. Jesus of Nazareth came of a poor family, but turned out well nevertheless. The laws of libel restrain me from citing some of the obvious examples of scions of rich houses who grew up as awful people, but you can probably think of your own examples.

  64. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    An even Simpler and Cheaper and Surer Guaranteed Answer?

    "The simple answer is to offer every female over the age of consent £2000 if she agrees to have an IUD fitted. This will end the supply of children feeding into the system." ..... By Anonymous Coward Posted Saturday 13th June 2009 18:23 GMT

    Offer a lesser sum to all males who volunteer to have a vasectomy. One Giant Step for Man, One Small Snip for Mankind.

  65. Roger Denholm Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Pms and poverty

    We in Oz had a PM promise no child would live in poverty last century.

    Things got worse

    Paris, because she knows poverty, not

  66. Moss Icely Spaceport
    Thumb Up

    Workhouses 2.0

    1) 5000 paupers to a dorm.

    2) One 50" plasma

    3) One shared sky subscription

    4) Work

    5) Profit

    6) ???

  67. Charles Manning

    A really easy fix

    As we all know, it is this dreadful poverty that causes kids to perform poorly in school.

    We also know that a person with poor school results is more likely to end up on the dole, being a drag on the economy.

    So here is an easy and cheap way to fix the problem:

    1) Monitor kids' school results. Select the bottom 10% in the class. They're the kids that are a victim of this poverty.

    2) Pay their parents $5000 (or quid equivalent) per year as an anti-poverty education stimulus (APES) until the kid does better.

    3) If the kid doesn't do better in one year of APES, then they clearly need better stimulation so double the APES to $10k.

    So where does the money come from? Well if a person is employed their whole life they will pay taxes which will cover APES in the long term. If they just end up on the dole they'd cost many times the APES. Thus, think of APES as an investment.

    Of course the right wing could argue that parents might game the system and expect the kids to fail to bring in money, but that's patently absurd. We all know that poverty stricken parents care for their kids as well as, if not better than, rich parents.

  68. PPPie
    Thumb Down

    Gov excuse for kidnapping

    Yet more bs laws to make it legal for them to kidnap your children. Wow UK is just becoming more of an evil sesspit as each hour passes.

    Paris, because while she distracts you, they nab your kids.

  69. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    what happens when they fail...

    Passing a law that states that it hands the power to make rulings over to a single person after a set period of time doesn't sound that democratic to me. In ten years, all welcome our new sumpreme ruler...

  70. kevin biswas
    Stop

    theory and practive

    Sounds good in theory but in practice it will probably end up as a Kafkaesque nightmare machine with police helping gestapo-ized social workers kick doors down at 3am to tear families apart and imprison parents for allowing kids to wear non govt-approved shoelaces to school. Whilst the parents are imprisoned the kids will likely end up in 'care' homes where they will be routinely drugged with anti-psychotics, prozac, ritalin etc and intermittently molested by the supposed 'carers' and afterwords grow up to be serial killers.

  71. Goat Jam
    Flame

    @ numbnut AC

    "I think you will find that giving all males of the species the snip is _far_ more effective and not much more expensive than fitting IUD's."

    Oh really? Besides being a far more permanent (and highly sexist) solution it quite simply wouldn't work.

    Assuming that it is neither possible or desirable for every single man to be sterilised your ridiculous solution simply falls apart.

    Just ask any farmer. If you want to breed animals you need lots of females and only 1 or 2 males to service them.

  72. Brian Milner

    War on Inequality = War on the Rich

    The problem isn't poverty, it's inequality.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2009/mar/12/equality-british-society

    We don't need a War on Poverty, we need a War on inequality.

    i.e. a war on the rich.

  73. Tony S

    @goat jam

    "Just ask any farmer. If you want to breed animals you need lots of females and only 1 or 2 males to service them."

    Actually, you don't even need the males at all. In the UK, there are a number of schemes that allow semen to be obtained, stored and farmers can then buy it in order to impregnate their stock with the output from the best of breed.

    The poor males don't even see the females, just a vet with a set of big rubber gloves and a large glass beaker.

  74. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    DNA

    It's all so the police don't have to make up charges to get DNA from future criminals. All they need to do now is arrest all kids on council estates for being poor then take a DNA sample so they will be easy to identify when they commit a crime later in life.

  75. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Workhouses could be the answer

    Obviously not dickensian workhouses, although seeing some of the poverty stricken kids roaming the streets it wouldn't be a bad idea, but something more like boarding schools. If you can't support your kids, instead of being given more free money, they get removed from your care and put in to a state run boarding school. No more having kid after kid purely to be guaranteed housing and benefits.

    legally kids have to be in school anyway and there are massive problems with truancy so it would solve more than one problem.

    Then if you want; them back, you simply have to demonstrate that you can support them as well as yourself. Probably not a very popular solution, but if you can't even support yourself, it's unfair to leave children in your care as well.

  76. Richard Wharram
    Stop

    They know they've lost

    So the Government is just laying a trap for the Tories. Effectively setting what the Tories' policy on 'child poverty' will be for them before they get in power. If the Tories try to fight this then they can be made out to look like child-hating bastards. Real gutter politics.

    Why not just pass a law that all future governments must be led by Gordon Brown and any election that disgrees with this is invalid ?

    Welcome to Great Iran !

  77. MinionZero
    Happy

    A political stunt?

    "Cynics might wonder whether a bill to eradicate poverty is nothing more than a political stunt in the run-up to the General Election."

    No really? ... a political stunt ... never.

    So how much is it going to cost? ... How much is the directors/Subcontractors/Csars going to earn out of it? ... Where are they taking the money from? ... How much difference will it really make?

    And why do I get the feeling the answers are, Lots, Lots, Us, none. So no change there then.

  78. Michael Dunn
    Happy

    @ Beelzeebub

    Oh, yes!

    I hope to be reborn Japanese.

  79. Michael Dunn
    Coat

    @ Hollerith 1

    Yes, just what they have in Scotland, which our Scottish overlords in Westminster deny to those unfortunate enough to live in England.

    It's the plaid coat (I wish)!

  80. n 5

    farce 2.0

    Wonder which celebrity/labour peer/tv chef they will have front this nonsense with the aid of a bbc "documentary"?

    Lord Winston?

    Mrs Brown?

    Andy Peters?

    ?

  81. Ted Treen
    Black Helicopters

    @Michael 2

    "...what the law states it has to and when the judgement goes in the plaintiff's favour the Government will have obey the court..."

    You mean just like the Government has obeyed the European Court's ruling on DNA retention by Plod?

    Your faith in the system is touching, but most of us would not trust this Government to tell us the time...

  82. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    @ SmallYellowFuzzyDuck

    You really do have a problem don't you?

    I'm on benefits because I was diagnosed as terminally ill in May 2008. My electricity is not paid for, my coal is not paid for, my television licence is not paid for, my water bill is not paid for, my vehicle is not paid for, my phone bill is not paid for, my broadband is not paid for, my home insurance isn't paid for, and would you believe it.. my Sky TV is not paid for.

    My credit rating is OK but for a LOT of people, they can only clothe themselves with "catalogue" companies because that is the only credit they can get. If they get out of paying the extortionate prices they were charged in the first place then it it is because of some stupid company trying to profiteer from poverty in the first place.

    Oh, and I only have a 32" LCD TV which I paid for from my savings.

    So people on other planets like you and your oh-so-gracious wife should really get an education and a grip on reality.

  83. Wayland Sothcott 1 Bronze badge
    Pirate

    so that all children have the best start in life

    "so that all children have the best start in life and have the opportunities to flourish".

    Surely all things are relative. Surely that's the best start in life for a child with those parents. Children from wealthier families generally have the best start in life but sometimes the best writers and artists come from disadvantaged families. Does this mean each child will be assessed to see if they should me fostered with a richer or poorer family than their natural parents?

    The other problem with this policy is that the target can also be met in another way. Either you have the best start in life or you have no start at all. I suspect it would be easier to sterilize poor parents than provide them with everything the rich parents can offer.

    Hopefully nothing will happen, because I don't like the idea of people being sterilized. Maybe this policy has already begun. Maybe the HPV vaccine will reduce the fertility of teenagers and they will need IVF at age 30, which will ofcourse be means tested.

    Be honest, could such mistakes happen?

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