New Labour’s poor record: a million impoverished households in rural England and a failure to reduce child poverty

Almost one million households in rural England live in poverty, a study says.The report, by the government’s rural advocate, says many people in the countryside have prosperous lifestyles.

But the picture is “not so rosy” for more than 928,000 households with incomes below the official poverty line of £16,492, Stuart Burgess adds.

Dr Burgess, who heads the Commission for Rural Communities, said the priorities for rural communities were providing more affordable housing, strengthening the economy of rural areas and supporting voluntary and community work.

One of his recommendations is to promote community land trusts, which ensure properties are affordable for rural workers and do not become second homes.

He told BBC News: “No government, whichever colour of the day, is going to interfere dramatically into the market economy. But what we can do is mitigate the problem.” [Emphasis added]

It seems Dr Burgess suffers from an impoverished imagination… an English parliament at the very least would be prompted to deal with this problem: I can imagine limits on second home ownership accompanied by an expansion of council housing.

It’s not just rural poverty, child poverty is another New Labour failure on poverty. (It’s ironic really – for the ruling class, it’s a sign they can be trusted.)

Child poverty, it was promised by Blair in 1999, would be halved by 2010. This target will not be reached.

Remember, it could be ended within weeks – but no, child poverty like rural poverty is a New Labour policy.

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5 Responses to “New Labour’s poor record: a million impoverished households in rural England and a failure to reduce child poverty”

  1. David Lindsay Says:

    Why? I’d like to see these things, too. But I don’t see why an English Parliament would be particularly likely to deliver them, especially considering that England is, overall, less rural than Scotland or Wales, at least.

    Iit is of course an historical abberation that the English countryside, once a most fertile seedbed of radicalism, has been ceded to a party wedded (aberrantly in terms of its own history) to an ideology wholly at odds with rural interests.

    I know of nowhere else (including Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland) where anything comparable is the case. And I really do mean nowhere: the self-styled Democratic Socialist, Senator Bernie Sanders, sits as an Independent for Vermont, a state so rural that he previously sat for its single at-large district in the House of Representatives.

  2. charliemarks Says:

    Currently, MPs whose constituencies are outside of England can vote on matters which do not concern the people who elected them – so they can act in the interests of their party by supporting unpopular or blocking popular legislation.

    In the current economic climate, an English parliament with a fair voting system would weaken New Labour and the New Tories, forcing the three main parties to adopt populist policies.

  3. David Lindsay Says:

    “Currently, MPs whose constituencies are outside of England can vote on matters which do not concern the people who elected them – so they can act in the interests of their party by supporting unpopular or blocking popular legislation.”

    They always could. And the reverse can still apply, perfectly aesily.

    Anyway, who says what is popular or unpopular in a particular part of the UK? The Poll Tax was more popular in Scotland than in England (there was never a Poll Tax riot in Scotland, and it was the only area where the Tories experienced a net gain of seats in 1992), there is no reason to assume that Academies/PFIs/foundation hospitals are unpopular in England (or would be anywhere else, come to that), and so forth.

  4. Seán Says:

    “The Poll Tax was more popular in Scotland than in England.” Not as I remember, and what evidence have you to support this assertion? By 1997 the tories were completely wiped out in Scotland.

    Also the riot in London was a national (UK) reaction to a completely unfair tax, not merely an English explosion of anger. I remember people from all across the nation (even Ireland) dancing and celebrating outside South Africa House as it was bricked and torched.

  5. charliemarks Says:

    Point is: tuition fees and foundation hospitals couldn’t have been introduced in England if only English MPs could vote for ’em…


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