Monday, 24 May 2010

Here we go...

Posted on This is My Truth on 24 May


"A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing" is how Oscar Wilde defined a cynic.

How else can you characterise someone who can describe the end of the Child Trust Fund scheme as "Action to cut Whitehall waste" ?

For those who don't have to worry about how to dodge inheritance tax because they can expect no handsome bequest the Child Trust Fund provided the promise of a future. Studies show that young adults with a small amount of capital at the beginning of adulthood had a significant advantage 10 years later over those who did not, enjoying more employment, higher earnings and better health It was one of the most radical attempts to engineer a more equal society in the long term. Waste, apparently.

Among the £6.2 Billion cuts this financial year is England's £5 million "Play Strategy". Encouraging the poorest children to play, learn, grow in confidence and explore freely has now been earmarked as a waste. The Sun cites it as another example of "the spendthrift culture in Whitehall".

But as Polly Toynbee notes these are not the things the better-off will notice, not their children, not in their schools:

This is no time to be a child, especially a poor child, and this is no time to be young. While David Cameron preserved every last perk for his over-60s wealthy voters – dukes keep their universal winter fuel payments – the young were the first sacrificial lambs.

The markets are demanding cuts. And cuts they will get. But it's not all taxis, first class rail travel, advertising and consultants. The cuts passed on to Local Government will mean care homes closed, social workers laid off, class sizes increased. Despite the spin, there are real victims to these first cuts.

Inevitable, perhaps. But have some respect for the lives of the people you'll be changing for the worst. It is beyond glib to describe such cuts as 'wasteful spending'. One man's "lower value spend" is another's life chance.

Lets hear no more that politics makes no difference.

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