Self-professed man of faith gave an interesting demonstration of Christian charity yesterday when he took a pot shot at UNICEF. The government he represents appears to be in denial about the record levels of child poverty, but does not take kindly to being forced to confront the truth by the likes of Marcus Rashford and, now, the global charity stepping into crisis areas to support children and families.
It was estimated in 2019 that 9 kids in every class of 30 are living in poverty. And poverty isn’t just about money. The sociologist Peter Townsend, who was a founding member of Child Poverty Action Group, defined poverty in 1979:
“Individuals, families and groups in the population can be said to be in poverty when they lack resources to obtain the type of diet, participate in the activities and have the living conditions and amenities which are customary, or at least widely encouraged and approved, in the societies in which they belong.”
Can anyone possibly imagine that kids living in this state are any better off now, in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis and rising unemployment? Isn’t it more than likely that the numbers have deteriorated further?
But here’s the man with a net worth of over £150 million reacting to the news that Unicef have felt the need to step in and support vulnerable children:
Do not forget, either, that this government has cut the overseas aid budget with potentially disastrous consequences for children, so Rees-Mogg may be referring (distastefully) to the increased need for Unicef’s services elsewhere that he and his government have wilfully created. In any event, it must be shocking to all decent people to hear these cruel, snide words from a man posing as a pillar of society. Notice how he mentions spending tax payers money on kids, but not when it’s bunging contracts to mates…
Anna Kettley, Unicef UK’s director of programmes and advocacy, said: “Unicef UK is responding to this unprecedented crisis and building on our 25 years’ experience of working on children’s rights in the UK with a one-off domestic response, launched in August, to provide support to vulnerable children and families around the country during this crisis period in partnership with Sustain, the food and farming alliance. Over £700k of Unicef UK funds is being granted to community groups around the country to support their vital work helping children and families at risk of food insecurity during the coronavirus pandemic. Unicef will continue to spend our international funding helping the world’s poorest children. We believe that every child is important and deserves to survive and thrive no matter where they are born.”
Kettley said Unicef UK was providing grants of between £5,000 and £25,000, with more than £700,000 being made available in total to 30 community organisations to fund projects for children and families in their area.
“For some of the projects in question, the funding is distributed via a council, but the majority of the grants are being made directly to community organisations,” she said. “In Southwark, the funding has gone directly to School Food Matters, a community organisation.”
Rees-Mogg appears to have assumed that all organisations adopt the same tactics as politicians – seeking to make political gain from every word and deed. He is wrong, just as he and his colleagues are wrong about Marcus Rashford. Some people are, quite simply, good. And some are, equally simply, most definitely not.