London

  • Remembering Tony Lynes

    Tony Lynes, CPAG’s first member of staff, has died aged 85. He was hit by a car and died of his injuries in London’s Kings College Hospital on 12 October.

    It started in 1965 with a meeting at Toynbee Hall to discuss the early results of what became Brian Abel-Smith and Peter Townsend’s The Poor and the Poorest – the book that ‘rediscovered poverty’. Tony then drafted the first memorandum, which was sent to Douglas Houghton, the social services overlord in the Labour cabinet. When there was no response, a second memorandum was sent to the Prime Minister in December 1965, coinciding with publication of the book. That meeting in March 1965 established CPAG, and Tony was appointed its first full-time Secretary in August 1966.

  • Standing up for CPAG

    On Tuesday 15 July, the Geek Show Off (ticket £5.00 plus £0.50 booking fee) a comedy night raising money for Child Poverty Action Group is being held at the Star of Kings pub in central London. 

    Recently, I was talked into doing something I’ve been dreading. On Tuesday 15th July, with several others, I have to stand on stage in front of a crowd of people in a dark room in Camden, and for 9 minutes, make them laugh.

  • Supreme Court splits the baby over the benefit cap

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    This blog was first posted on the UK Human Rights Blog.

    The Supreme Court was sharply divided yesterday over whether the benefit cap breaches the Human Rights Act. The controversial cap limits the total amount of benefits an out-of-work family can receive, including housing benefit and benefits for children, to £500 per week. It is applied regardless of family size or circumstances such as rental costs. As a result, lone parents with children in large families are disproportionately affected, both because they are more likely to be hit by the cap and because they are less likely to be able to avoid its effects.

  • Tackle child poverty by letting mums work

    London is the child poverty capital of the UK, with more poor children living in London than in Wales and Scotland combined. These numbers are driven up by a jobs market that is not working for mothers.

  • Tackling the ‘two New Yorks’: what can London learn?

    As Londoners start to consider who their next mayor could be, does the New York race give clues for the London campaign?

  • The dark side of localism: when boroughs want to keep "council tax tourists" out

    In the 1949 Ealing comedy Passport to Pimlico, residents of the London borough set themselves up as a separate state with predictably comic results. When Pimlico’s governing committee lifts post-war rationing, shoppers flood to the new dominion only to find themselves trapped when its borders are later closed. As the local policeman puts it to one hapless refugee, “You should never have travelled abroad without your passport, madam”.

  • The minimum cost of raising a child to adulthood: £83,000

    New research by Child Poverty Action Group shows that the cost of raising a child threatens to tip an increasing number of families into poverty.

    Children cost. A lot. New research published today shows that raising a child from birth to 18 requires a minimum of £83,155 for a couple, and £96,905 for a lone parent family. (In case you are wondering, it costs a lone parent more than a couple to bring up a child because there is only one adult to make offsetting savings from their own living expenses).

    There’s a lot going on behind this eye-watering figure. Part of the story is the well-known fact that costs are rising, and rising fast. The price of food – a quarter of the basic budget required for a child – has risen at 25 per cent in the last six years; housing continues to consume a growing share of a family’s budget; and the price of childcare – which can amount up to 45 per cent of the total cost of a child if both parents work full-time - continues to increase apace.

  • Tony Lynes – my memories of a special man

    I first met Tony in about 1966 or 1967 when he came to talk to a group of students at Goldsmiths’ College in London about Poverty in Britain and the CPAG shortly after the inception of CPAG. On completing my degree I went to teach in Oxford and came to know Tony when I joined the Oxford branch of the Child Poverty Action Group. Tony had moved from being Secretary (a post now called Chief Executive) of CPAG on a national level to being probably the first welfare rights officer employed by a local authority based in Oxfordshire Children’s Department. Tony was our guide, mentor and activist in the small Committee of the Oxford CPAG of which I was Secretary.

  • Unfinished business: where next for extended schools?

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    It’s a public policy reform that has the potential to help the Government to solve two major policy headaches – improving access to affordable childcare for working parents and helping schools cut the attainment gap between richer and poorer children – but the number of extended schools remains inadequate. 

  • What does blue-collar Conservatism look like?

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    This was the question facing a panel convened by Bright Blue and the Child Poverty Action Group at a fringe event I attended at the Conservative Party Conference this week. Josephine Tucker reports.

    After the 2015 election the Prime Minister promised ‘blue-collar Conservatism’, which he said was about 'giving everyone in our country the chance to get on, with the dignity of a job, the pride of a pay cheque, a home of their own and the security and peace of mind that comes from being able to support a family’.