Children forgotten in Chancellor’s Summer statement

Anna Feuchtwang, Chief Executive of the National Children’s Bureau, said:

Despite 160+ organisations calling on the Chancellor to put Children at the Heart of his summer spending plans, today children have been forgotten yet again. The Government’s focus on economic recovery is understandable, but it is meaningless when it overlooks action to support the recovery of a generation of children.

We welcome the Chancellor’s announcement of the Kick Start scheme, but we also need action to protect the wellbeing of vulnerable young people. While apprenticeships and traineeships for under 25’s will help to  level up for many, we need to level up for all children and families especially those who are most at risk.

This means urgent and long-term investment in local authority children’s services alongside wider public health funding  - services that vulnerable families rely on the most, that are reeling from being stripped back to the bone over the last decade[i] and that have been largely unavailable during lockdown. The absence of financial support for these services means that the Chancellor risks not only the wellbeing of children today but also the deepening of inequalities in the future.

Even before COVID-19, 30% of the UK’s children and young people were growing up in the grip of poverty[ii]. This statement needed to include urgent measures to prevent the pandemic tightening that grip further and pulling more children and families into poverty. Protecting jobs is vital, but needed to be complemented by measures to improve social security.

With many families keeping their youngest children at home out of concern for their physical safety, nurseries and childminders are struggling to afford to stay open. High quality early education improves children’s future life chances, but the opportunity to level up in the early years and support parents’ return to work will be lost without urgent financial support to the early education and childcare sector.

NCB alongside the children’s sector are calling for a cross government Children’s Recovery Strategy that puts the needs of children at the heart of Government’s recovery planning and spending. We will lobby for this at the forthcoming All Party Parliamentary Group for Children on 16 July, alongside children and families. The Chancellor and his Ministerial colleagues must listen and take bigger, bolder action in the Autumn budget and forthcoming Spending Review.

The Recovery programme of work which is being led by NCB and colleagues in the children’s sector can be found here https://www.ncb.org.uk/what-we-do/policy/policy-reports-and-briefings/vision-recovery

Notes to editors

For further information, please contact the National Children’s Bureau media office: media@ncb.org.uk / rnewson@ncb.org.uk / 07721 097 033.

For urgent enquiries out of office-hours call: 07721 097 033.

 

[i] Capacity to provide community-based parenting support, particularly for new parents, must also be rebuilt, with an estimated 1,000 children centres closed over the last 10 years[i] as funding has been cut by 46%. Analysis found that estimated funding for local authority children’s services fell by £2.2 billion between 2010/11 – 2018/19[ii], matched by a shift from spending on early intervention services such as children’s centres and family support, to spending on late intervention services such as safeguarding and children in care.  Services to support families with parenting were already under resourced before the current crisis and will be under additional pressure now.

[ii] https://www.endchildpoverty.org.uk/