Charity

Why charity is evidence of a government which has failed the public

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It is often said that charities show the better side of humanity. The friendly and supportive nature of those offering help to the people who need it most restores faith in us as a species. The problem is that most aspects of charity should not exist in the UK, and the fact that they do is evidence of a government failing the people.

Years of austerity under the Conservatives have led to a significant rise in people relying on food banks and charity donations to get by. Charities have become a safety net to many people who have had lifelines cut by the government in the past decade. Cuts to benefits as well as the removal of emergency funds has hit the most deprived in our society hard, further increasing the need for charity.

The UK has the sixth largest economy in the world, and a shortage of money has never been an issue. Last month, a report from Bloomberg estimated that Brexit had cost the UK £130 billion since the referendum in 2016, with this figure set to hit £200 million early next year; not to mention that between 1973 and 2018 the UK’s net contribution was £216 billion. When the cutting of vital benefits has impacted so many but this amount has been spent on the UK’s departure from the EU, it is clear where this government’s priorities lie.

The government has recently appeared to justify essential aspects of society as being non-essential. When Sir Captain Tom Moore was raising his millions for the NHS Charities, there was no sign of the government stepping in to do their part. His efforts got the admiration which they deserved, but it also highlighted how much money was needed to fill the holes within the charity.

More recently a vote to extend free school meals for around one million children has further highlighted the failings of a Party which has now been in power for a decade. The initiative, which was put forward by Labour, was voted down by the Conservative majority. It would have cost £20 million to make sure these children receive meals during the holidays all the way through to Easter.

Supporters of the Conservatives have argued that it’s not the responsibility of the government to feed children, stating that they are not a charity. Instead, they want this burden to fall on the shoulders of actual charities which have a fraction of the resources of the government, but make up for this in their humanity.

Charity is the trademark of a failed government, yet this has failed to register with politicians in the past. A Christmas tradition seems to be a visit to a food bank, and more often than not it comes across as a shallow PR stunt. We will no doubt see more Conservative Ministers grinning in pictures next to food bank staff this year but, after certain events in 2020, it will be all the more sickening.

In the UK we can pride ourselves on a strong economy, but it is saddening to see how our government treats those most in need. Charity is a sign of a failing government, but in the UK we have a government which is failing its people in more ways than one.

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