The Guardian, Wednesday 2 June 2010
The government has now begun its cost-cutting measures in an attempt to save money (Spending cuts, 25 May). David Cameron said that he would protect the poorest in our society. However, the axe has fallen on the child trust fund and Becta, the information technology organisation that also administers the home access grant scheme. Becta, through the home access scheme, has benefited youngsters who find information and communication technology beyond their reach by providing laptops and broadband to over 200,000 of the poorest children. Becta is levelling the playing field between those who can afford ICT and those who cannot. Becta not only advantages poor children, but also benefits the Treasury, as its centralised procurement arrangements save schools and colleges many times more than Becta costs to run.
The child trust fund has helped children save since 2001, with £250 given on birth – double for children in the lowest income bands – and again when the child is aged seven. It pays even greater dividends to disabled children. It would have been simple to means-test the CFT in the way that the home access grant scheme means-tested eligibility for laptops.
This government has lied about protecting the poorest. Their words are a smoke screen for doing exactly the opposite. The Lib Dems should be ashamed about their part in this disgraceful realisation of this government’s hollow promise.
Newhaven, East Sussex
• Of the 23 members of the new coalition cabinet 17 are millionaires, 15 are Oxbridge graduates and 12 went to private schools (David Laws’s life goal was to cast people out of work, 1 June). Where is the justice in this privileged elite forcing through draconian cuts to public spending which will hit the poorest hardest?
Letters Guardian 2/6