The attainment gap between rich and poor children has widened under the Tories - Yorkshire Post Letters

From: Terry Riordan, Ottery St Mary.

Jeremy Hall (April 9) rightly highlighted the shocking and rising level of child poverty. None of us chooses our parents and yet so much in our future lives is decided by the lottery of whether you’re born to a poor or wealthy family.

I still remember, in the early 1960s, my best friend at secondary school (who was brighter than me) had to leave school at 16 to work in a factory because he was the oldest child in a large and fairly poor family.

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It should be a vital role for all governments to narrow the so-called attainment gap between rich and poor children’s future prospects. However, precisely the opposite has happened under the Tory government.

School children during a lesson in a classroom. PIC: Tony JohnsonSchool children during a lesson in a classroom. PIC: Tony Johnson
School children during a lesson in a classroom. PIC: Tony Johnson

Beyond the misery and insecurity of growing up poor, there are long-term effects with much higher rates of both physical ill health and mental health problems. Numerous reports show that living in poverty results not only in shorter lives but also a higher proportion of life spent with health problems.

The documented rise in ill-health over the last 14 years is putting yet more pressure on an already over-stretched NHS. In addition the number of adults not working due to ill health has been rising and reached a staggering 2.8 million last autumn.

This has led to a huge increase in disability payments and has a downward drag on the UK economy.

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Even those with hearts of stone towards those affected must see that this is something a government of any colour should address. However, it simply isn’t a priority for this cruel and incompetent government who instead double down on the already brutal limits on benefits.

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