Everything starts with a positive first step
I’ve been a Save the Children supporter for many years. In fact it was Save the Children who supported me first, when I was a young boy on the streets of Nairobi. You can read about my experience here.
Tea Time for Change interested me because I wanted to join with all these people who are committed to the well-being of children, and I believe that together we have a stronger voice for lobbying our MPs – not just the UK government but all around the world.
Children are voiceless – they don’t have a vote. We do. So we must use our influence, locally and globally.
In my constituency, West Bromwich East, there are around 22,000 children living in poverty. And poverty also leads to health inequalities, including higher cancer, coronary disease and diabetes rates, and lower life expectancy.
But it’s so hard to escape poverty. For example, Save the Children has found that poor people end up paying much more for things than anyone else. For example, they have to buy prepaid tokens for energy and these cost more.
During the Tea Time for Change event my meeting with my MP Tom Watson went very well — I got more than I expected. He’s already aware of the hopelessness of the situation in West Bromwich East, and when I showed him the poverty figures he said that it was not acceptable.
In fact, I found out today that he used to work for Save the Children, and he will do everything we’ve asked him to do, including voting for the legislation. He is with us. Not only does he agree with the principle of the Robin Hood tax, but he actually worked with Gordon Brown and they proposed this tax then.
I’m particularly happy about the discussions we had on a local level. I talked to him about household poverty, especially the energy issue, and he’s aware that poor people are paying more. We agreed to look into this problem, and pursue a pilot scheme empowering 10 households. He’s now going to discuss this with Luciana Berger, the Shadow Energy Minister.
The last time I went out raising money for Save the Children I raised more than any other collector in the West Midlands. Mr Watson has agreed that the next time Save the Children organise a fundraising we will rattle the collection tins together.
I feel quite excited now. Everything starts with a positive first step – that’s why I came here.