The Islington gazette has a front page headline ..........
No Room for mum and baby
MARY and Joseph had to make do with a stable and this Christmas young mother Nichola Katsaras and her baby Jayden are having to sleep in a garage.The homeless 23-year-old has been on the waiting list for a property since before her six-month old son was born - but Islington Council has still not found one for her. So Miss Katsaras sleeps in the garage with her baby in Hatchard Road, Archway.She said: "It hasn't been plastered or insulated and it's not meant to be lived in.I have my bed, wardrobe, sofa and a chest of drawers in there and I had to buy a portable radiator. Now it is winter it is starting to get really cold in there."Miss Katsaras has been living in the garage, which is part of the property her mother rents, since August 2005. When she discovered she was pregnant she made an application at the Housing Aid Centre to be classed as "homeless from home" and therefore get a property of her own……………………
This was my take on it .
I `m sure we all found the heart rending tale of Mother Nichola and baby Jayden`s housing difficulties, desperately moving. The first line the story specifically referred to Mary and Joseph .The comparison with the nativity was poignant throughout
I know nothing about this poor woman and her circumstances ,and I wish to avoid assumptions about her case . On the other hand , I am certain almost everyone who read the story asked themselves ;where is Joseph? We are asking that question far to often nowadays,
Government policies have decimated the family. Let me make it quite clear; by family, I mean mother , children, and father. Britain has the worst level of family breakdown in Europe and one on three children will experience divorce or separation before sixteen . Two out of five children are born to unmarried parents. All of these statistics are vastly worse if we look at benefit supported Council tenants. With 70% of Council tenant receiving assistance in Islington, we are at the sharp end .
The absent father has been a betrayal of white working class boys above all. Only 17% of these gain five or more A to C grades at GCSE .With today’s exams that means the rest are virtually unemployable.
Misguided benefit systems, and a housing policy that rewards irresponsible behaviour are to blame . Consequently, drug related violence terrorises Islington and all we hear is , CCTV , ID cards, and other coercive measures. These are boys who have no-one there to tell them how to be a man. The state cannot be their father.
Remember ,“Tough on crime tough on the causes of crime” ? The greatest cause of all is family breakdown , but this is not on the “New” Labour agenda. .The Child support agency has been a fiasco only rivalled by the tax credit system, and the ineffective “Sure Start“ initiative. I attend “Sure Start” with an awfully nice architect , and an alternative comedian. It isn’t working.
My heart goes out to Nichola Katsaras and I beg her not to take these words as an attack on her .My anger is directed at the government who have wrecked the lives of so many decent people . We must adjust our housing and welfare policy, reintroduce the transferable tax allowance ,and remove vicious marginal rates of taxation We must not forget , ever , that Joseph was there at the first Christmas;watching over the manger .