STEPHEN HEPBURN: Tories don’t care about struggling families

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Budget spin by a Chancellor of the Exchequer who couldn’t find his way to Tyneside can’t hide a brutal truth.

 This rotten Tory Government cares little about the plight of people struggling in communities like ours when the Conservatives look after the interests of the wealthy few.

 George Osborne can only inflict more pain because he’s never had to worry about paying bills, finding a job or whether his children will prosper in life.

 That he was born with a silver dinner service in his mouth should make us angrier at the hurt inflicted on the powerless and weakest.

 Just before the Budget a report by the respected Institute for Fiscal Studies revealed child poverty is set to go through the roof as a result of Tory benefit cuts.

 An additional half a million children will sink into absolute poverty by 2020 “as a result of planned tax and benefit reforms”.

 The latest figures for the Jarrow parliamentary constituency show that nearly 15% of children, almost one-in-every-six, are in homes on the breadline even before housing costs are taken into consideration.

 After the cost of housing is included, the toll soars to nearly 25% or one-in-four children.

 Opportunities denied, lives wasted. That’s Tory Britain for you.

 In a country as rich as ours, the world’s fifth largest economy, it’s indefensible.

 Fat Cat pay going up and up while queues lengthen at charity food banks isn’t inevitable. It’s a choice, a political choice by Conservatives who don’t give a damn for working class Britain.

 Since 2010, referrals to food banks in South Tyneside have gone up by 400% – yes you read that figure right – 400%.

 You can’t just turn up. A doctor or somebody else in authority has to believe you’re desperate. All in Tory Britain.

 Another shocking truth is there are places having it even worse. Mercifully, Jarrow isn’t in the hardest hit constituencies. In the area suffering most, Bethnal Green & Bow in London’s East End, just shy of 50% of kids live in poverty.

 Official statistics show a similarly shameful story in Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Glasgow and other parts of London.

 In the Conservative strong hold of North East Hampshire, only 6% of children are in the same situation before housing costs. In true blue Wokingham, Haltemprice & Howden, Buckingham, South Northamptonshire, York Outer, North Somerset and South Cambridgeshire – all Tory to the core – the picture is similarly rosy. The Government’s response to blatant inequality is to scrap child poverty targets, pretend it isn’t happening.

 When Cameron signed Tories up to the Labour-backed pledge to “make British poverty history” what the Conservatives meant was ignoring it.

 Well, it’s certainly one way to get around it. And pretty typical of the shoddy, heartless manner in which this Government deals with the problems affecting the most vulnerable in our society.

 Same old Tories – look after their own, the rest be damned!