Friday, 19 November 2010

Camden Kids Below The Poverty Line

Camden’s own Comprehensive Spending Review will be finalised on 23 November, revealing the "knock on effects" of the spending cuts in the borough.

Specific departments were wary about giving figures or inferring a down-grade of their services to the public but the key word floating around was "reorganise".

Councils including Camden have made efforts to be transparent about their spending, publishing the salaries and bonuses of their senior staff accounting for 2.77 million this annum.

Deputy Head Mr Mcnaught of Maria Fidelis Convent School said “we have to seriously think about how to reorganise”.The state school in a now largely Muslim area still retains its “convent”status with a small grant from the Catholic Church.

The deputy head said the Church’s grant is fixed and not likely to increase. Two nuns remain the authority figures of the school and “nothing gets passed without going through them."

Faith schools still remain "heaven on Earth" for some parents, whilst the Prime Minister has publically expressed his support in saying that their "culture and ethos" can help standards improve.

Unemployment was earmarked by Camden council as the biggest cause of deprivation. Eighteen percent of young people in the borough between16 and 24 claim unemployment benefit, above the London average.

On theJobseekers Direct-gov website a keyword search of “Camden” produces 100 hits. According to the DPW there were 453 thousand unfilled vacancies throughout the UK in the three months to October 2010, up 20,000 over the year.

One unattractive position meeting national minimum wage and working unsociable hours asks for an experienced security guard for 12 hr night shifts, 48 hours a week.

Camden council’s Fostering Service currently match children to homes in “3-4 days on average.
Spending cuts could mean more private agencies being used to find foster homes, which are currently a last resort.

The Camden Fostering Department suggested children in Camden are faced with more complex domestic problems, e.g. sexual abuse and neglect, while “outside Camden, drugs and alcohol are the norm".

Almost half of children in Camden are classed as below the poverty line. The results of a survey from June this year highlighted money as the key reason for parents spending on average 48 minutes with their children a day.

Dr Rosemary Keenan of The Catholic Children's Society said " It is sadly a symptom of modern life that parents have to work such long hours to afford a higher standard of living, or to make ends meet."

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