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Widening inequality - how Wiltshire Council is not helping

Sirs, The recently announced closure of our outdoor education centres at Braeside and Oxenwood is another example of Wiltshire Council cutting services which will widen inequality and impact most on the poorest children in our community.

Children lucky enough to have parents able to afford alternative experiences will do OK. Those less fortunate will lose out on what could be a life enhancing experience. But inequality affects all of us all.

All our children will lose out on an opportunity to engage together in activities that seek to integrate children from different backgrounds, learning and living together.

Income inequality in the UK is now amongst the highest in the developed world. Recent research by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation reports the first sustained increase in child and pensioners poverty for twenty years. More than a million people in the UK are officially classed as destitute i.e. so poor they can’t afford to eat properly, keep clean or stay warm or dry.

The gap in life expectancy between the poorest and most advantaged females has reached a record high.

Whilst the government tells us that work is the best way out of poverty, research by Cardiff University last year found a record 60 per cent of people in poverty live in a household where someone is in work.

New analysis by the Children’s Society and Child Poverty Action Group shows that once universal credit is fully rolled out, almost 300,000 low-income working parents in England will be excluded from free school meals for their children. People are ‘doing the right thing’ and working hard but are trapped in a spiral of poverty where the safety net of a welfare state is disappearing.  

On Monday, 30 April the Marlborough Area Poverty Action Group is hosting a meeting to discuss inequality. The speaker is Martin Wilkinson from the Equality Trust. Marlborough is an affluent town surrounded by villages that have felt the full impact of austerity measures.

Many are no longer struggling, they are sinking. Children are particularly hit by austerity measures when family incomes fail to keep pace with inflation and services are withdrawn.

The meeting “Inequality is making our lives poorer” is at 7. 30 pm in St. Peter’s Church, Marlborough. Everyone is welcome, please come and join the discussion
Sylvia Card and Bill Yates
Marlborough Area Poverty Action Group

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