While £1.5b for social care is good news for councils, the Government have stated only £1 billion of this is to be shared between adults and children’s social care. Research shows that local authorities are facing a gap between funding and spending of more than three times this amount by 2025 for children’s social care alone. Our own research has shown that children’s funding has been slashed by a third per child since 2010, leaving thousands at risk of falling into crisis. We urgently need confirmation of how much of the new social care money will be targeted at vulnerable children and young people, and how much will be spent elsewhere in the system.
Today’s announcement says nothing about uprating benefits or tackling the housing crisis, which are significant factors in the poverty blighting the lives of over 4m children in the UK. After a decade of austerity, we still need a wider commitment from Government to address the withering inequality that leaves many families relying on food banks to get by.
Making ends meet is a particular issue for families with disabled children. While £700m of new funding in 2020/21 for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) is a welcome part of education funding announced last week, it comes linked to initiatives on school behaviour. The Government must remember that punishing or excluding children for behaviour that has its roots in SEND, impairment, mental health needs or trauma cannot be an appropriate solution.