Leading children’s charities warn of risks in Levelling Up plans

In response to Michael Gove's White Paper on Levelling Up, NCB, End Child Poverty, Barnardo’s, Save the Children, The Children’s Society and Action for Children have issued a joint statement.

The white paper provides a rare opportunity to reset Government strategy and investment that enables children and families to thrive and communities to flourish. We are therefore pleased to see a focus on education, including a plan to increase literacy levels of primary school children, and on community pride.

It is disappointing that the 12 key missions do not include tackling child poverty or investment in the early years, nor does its focus on wellbeing and health inequalities include specific measures for children. Levelling up cannot succeed while families experience rising poverty, debt, homelessness and hunger. We also know that the first few years of a child’s life are crucial and addressing children’s learning and development in the early years is one of the best ways to prevent the impact of poverty on children and into adulthood.

The ultimate test of levelling up as a strategy is not just whether it can spread opportunities fairly throughout the country, but whether it can tackle the underlying issues that persistently deny every child fair access to these opportunities. The Secretary of State has said that child poverty is a scar that needs to be healed. We look forward to working closely with him to strengthen this vision to ensure children are at the heart of this plan.