Let’s Do What We Can To Fight Child Poverty

Last week we announced our support for a campaign to end child poverty. The national campaign has been brought to Blaenau Gwent by MP Dai Davies.Here, in his own words, Mr Davies explains why he is supporting the campaign and why the issue of child poverty is close to his heart.

“I was born into a loving, caring, family. I lacked for nothing in those ways. But there was never any spare cash, to say the least. For many years we couldn’t afford to take a family holiday.

“My dad was an electrician’s mate in the steel industry, we lived in my grandparents’ house, and we got used to hand-me-downs from cousins.

“Dad used to get our clothes from the steelwork’s stores, shirts, shoes, that sort of thing, which would be taken out of his pay docket.

“Shops like the Co-op would run a club where you could save a pound a week towards buying things.

“We learnt to use every scrap of food, nothing wasted, making soups and things from leftovers. There was a real sense of community where family and neighbours would share with each other.

“This is the story of many, many, people in Blaenau Gwent. And it is not just the story of my childhood, it is the story right now of thousands of children in our communities who have to go without so many things others take for granted.

“Poverty affects everyone and everything in those families.

“Research we have done shows the gaps in health, wealth and poverty between us and the better-off areas around Britain is as bad now as it was in Victorian times.

“If you want the full facts they are all set out in a pamphlet you can get from my constituency office. The facts are shocking.

“The words child poverty put a distance between us and the real, living, breathing, human being who is actually suffering a life deprived of choice, of food, of shoes, of being able to take part in activities with others of their own age.

“It affects housing, education, opportunities, everything.

“We had the steelworks when I was growing up, and people had the opportunity to stay where they are. But the opportunities for work locally are much fewer.

“With travel costs, short-contract and insecure working, low wages, travelling to where the work is also a real problem.

“Since the steelworks closed we have been losing youth clubs, community centres where kids could learn something new. The facilities we have in Blaenau Gwent are woeful.

“So what should we do, as a society? There is no other answer than to spread the wealth. Those that have are going further and further away from those that have not.

“The Barnett Formula – the amount each area gets in funding – has to be changed. Communities like Blaenau Gwent are suffering because there is not a ‘significant element of need’ in the way the money is distributed.

“Our capital, with its hundred of millions in developments, is funded from people across Wales. It was built using money that came from the black diamond that Valleys like ours got out of the ground.

“The billions spent by the Assembly in Cardiff should be shared more equally across all communities in Wales.

“Child poverty is a scandal. It shames us all.”

Mr Davies is calling for people to join him on a trip to London to take part in an organised demonstration at Trafalgar Square on October 4.

If you wish to support his campaign you can call into his Ebbw Vale office to sign the petition to end child poverty.