Britain’s poet laureate has accused the government of behaving like “scrooge at his worst” after ministers decided to axe all funding for a free book scheme that benefits 3.3 million youngsters a year.
Carol Ann Duffy, who was appointed poet laureate in 2009, leads a series of writers who have attacked the decision to cut all government funding for the Booktrust charity which provides free books for children from the age of nine months until their first term of secondary school when they are 11.
Duffy said: “Support for Bookstart is support for the dreams and imaginations and futures of British children. To withdraw that support is to behave like Scrooge at his worst. Here’s hoping the powers- that- be see the light in tiime, as he did.”
Duffy was joined by the best selling novelist Ian McEwan. The author of Atonement said: “I’m appalled to hear that Bookstart is for the chop and I’m counting on Michael Gove to reconsider. This modestly funded, truly civilised scheme has brought to millions of kids benefits far beyond the calculations of politicians. Who knows what seeds have been planted in young minds? It’s by initiatives like this that we hope to measure ourselves as a mature and thoughtful society. A U-turn on this would be an honourable choice.”
A miserly decision by Tory scum, in which the poorest children will be denied huge potential. This isn’t about the deficit (we built the NHS with a bigger one as a percentage of GDP); it’s an ideologically driven destruction of support for those who need it the most.
I predict beeping sounds as the government u-turns…