A mini—Budget for children

Posted by / Wednesday 08 July 2020 / Government spending
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For a mini-Budget, there was a lot of spendingBut it contained little dedicated help for children -  though children with independent incomes who dine out a lot in the summer will benefit from the Eat Out to Help Out scheme.

Today heralds the Government’s economic response to the coronavirus crisis moving from protecting the economy to saving jobs.  There’s much to be welcomed, including the Kickstart scheme to reduce youth unemployment.

But the Government’s response remains two-dimensional.

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Right from the start, children’s charities have warned that we are facing not just a public health catastrophe and an economy at risk of falling over – the twin pillars of the Government’s approach - but also crisis for children, requiring its own urgent and overwhelming response.

The nation’s priorities should be saving lives, keeping the economy going and protecting the childhoods and life chances of children.

Last week, Action for Children and other leading charities coordinated an open letter to the PM from over 150 charities and other groups making this call.  In the end, the PM’s ‘New Deal’ speech contained very little for children. Today’s speech from the Chancellor is better for its focus on young people entering the labour market but it falls far short of what is needed.

The plan for children needs to move from rescue, to recovery and to rebuild. Yes, that means focusing on return to schools and attainment. But that’s only part of what needs to be done. Children are more than just school pupils.

Among other things, we need investment in early help services and public health, dedicated financial support for children and unprecedented investment in children’s mental health. The government, understandably, has so far focused on the immediate health and economic consequences.

It’s time the nation, through the state, put its protective arm around our children, to stop childhoods being disrupted and life chances being derailed.

This didn’t happen today. It needs to happen by this autumn’s spending review.