zondag 4 september 2011

When you are born being 10 pennies you will never become 20 pennies

In the Netherlands we have an ancient song ("Als je voor een dubbeltje geboren bent, word je nooit een kwartje"). Translated into English it would be something like "When you are born being 10 pennies you will never become 20 pennies". I had to think about this when I read an article about poverty in the Netherlands.
In the article they came to the conclusion that in the Netherlands 15% of the children will stay in poverty when turning into adults.

                                          Homeless in the Netherlands

Children's poverty has a bad influence for the social life of children; there is a chance of isolation. Poor children will never go on a holiday, will not join in schooltrips, will not give their friends in school a treat when they have their birthday, will not have a birthday party and will wear "funny" clothes.
What is even more important: poor children achieve less in school.
For the parents having a job is not a guaranteed solution for ending the poverty. Because of low wages and the high cost of living it's often needed that there are two persons in a household with a steady income.

I wondered what the situation would be in the UK.
I found alarming figures and I understand that Nick Clegg has intentions to fight children's poverty;  at least there is a plan. The future will tell us how much really will be achieved while national cutbacks are still going ahead.

                                            Poor neighboorhood in England

I will try to compare figures against each other.
In the Netherlands 6.2% of the population lives in poverty; in the UK 23%.
In the Netherlands 311,000 children live in poverty, that is 9.1% of the children; in the UK 3.5 million, that is 30% of the children.
The unemployment rate in the Netherlands is 4.1%, in the UK 7.8%.
Of the 27 countries in the European Union only 6 countries do worse in statistics about poverty.
These are: Croatia, Estonia, Slovenia, Lithuania, Latvia and Malta. Two countries are on the same level as the UK regarding poverty: Italy and Spain.

                                                        Foodbank in Norwich (UK)

In the Netherlands 15% of the children in poverty will remain in that after becoming adults.
I did not find a calculation of this for the UK, but other graphics and statistics make me believe this is more than 40% in the UK.

                                         Foodbank in Amersfoort (the Netherlands)

                                         Clothingbank in Amersfoort (the Netherlands)

I had thoughts about this, there should be a reason why there is less elasticity in changing from position in society. I can only think about the more awareness about your own class in that society. It's completely the contrary of the old American dream : newspaperboy that fights his way to become a millionaire.
It's really an absence of ambition and hope for a better future.
I do hope the program of Nick Clegg will bring a change in this, but again: I have my doubts.
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