England’s Children’s Commissioner is today calling for vulnerable children to be at the heart of government plans to "build back better" after the pandemic.
In her final speech after six years in the role, Anne Longfield calls on the Prime Minister to put children at the "centre stage" of plans to "level up" the nation.
In response, Barnardo’s Chief Executive Javed Khan said:
“Children must be a priority in the ‘post-Covid era’. The Government must protect this generation of children from the devastating effects of the pandemic – from the crisis in children’s mental health, to the risk of harm at home, online and in the community, to the growing education gap for the most vulnerable.
“In the short term, we need funding in the system to help children at greatest risk. Next month’s Budget is a key opportunity for the Government to help to mitigate the impact on their education, mental health and wellbeing. This should include making permanent the £20 a week uplift in Universal Credit to help protect thousands of families and children from falling deeper into poverty.
“It's also essential we also have long-term investment in children's social care and other vital services that families can access before they reach crisis point. The Government is rightly reviewing the care system and early years support. We will need a commitment to multi-year funding, and new ways of working between national government, local agencies and charities, to make sure that this translates into real change for children.
“To make sure children’s interests are at the top of the list, we also need a Cabinet-level Minister for Children and Young People to lead a joined-up strategy that puts young people at the heart of policy and funding decisions as we move beyond the pandemic.”