Ignoring robust evidence about nutrition & debt politicians worsen real hardship, mental & physical illness UPDATED

1 May 2016

TAP letter in The Observer - Sunday 1st May 2016

Will Hutton rightly excoriates politicians for the chasm between robust evidence and the language they use. That chasm is also wide and deep between evidence and policy.

Since 1972 the Institute of Brain Chemistry and Human Nutrition has presented governments with powerful evidence that poor maternal nutrition adds to the risk of low birth-weight and lifetime permanent developmental brain disorder in children.

In 1999 the Family Budget Unit * published the weekly cost of minimum income needed for a healthy diet researched by nutritionists at the University of York.

In 2008 the Government Office for Science, building on the work of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, reported on the link between low income, debt and mental health problems.

In 2008, to save the banks, billions of pounds were taken from the pockets of the poorest citizens. Their incomes were already at a basic level, and the effect of that policy has been to reduce them below that and create personal debt.

By ignoring the evidence. politicians have exacerbated real hardship, mental and physical illness while sparing the more prosperous citizens from making a fair contribution to the shortfall in government funding. (see Supreme Court judgment in Moseley v Haringey end of para 29)

The Rev Paul Nicolson
Taxpayers Against Poverty, London N17

* Since 2008 this has been annually updated by the Centre for Research in Social Policy at the University of Loghborough for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.