Responding to the Chancellor’s budget delivered to Parliament today, Matthew Reed, Chief Executive of The Children’s Society said:
On child sexual exploitation
'With extra money available to the Chancellor, it is hugely disappointing that the Government has yet again failed to make extra funding available to protect children from sexual abuse and to create a register of missing children.
'With local government budgets being squeezed central government must provide extra funding to make sure that vulnerable children and young people get the protection they need to keep them safe.'
On mental health
'The Government’s announcement of £250 million a year of extra spending on mental health for children and young people is a welcome – but long overdue – move. For this to be effective, it is absolutely crucial that this money is protected and includes support specifically for 16 and 17-year-olds – too often they are forgotten and fall through the gaps.'
On benefit and taxation
'However much the Government talks about growth, significant cuts to welfare over the last five years mean that huge numbers of families — both working and non-working — continue to miss out. The Chancellor talks about us all being ‘in it together’, but the reality is strikingly different for hundreds of thousands of struggling families.
'Plans to spend £2.5 billion over the next two years on increasing tax allowances is simply not the best way to help low-income working families. While raising the personal allowance may appear to help, hundreds of thousands of working families will be hit by cuts to their benefits, cancelling any advantage that increased tax allowances would bring. It’s vital that benefits keep pace with the cost of living to protect the most vulnerable.'
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Notes to editors
- 3.7 million children in the UK are living in poverty (https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/households-below-average-income-hbai-199495-to-201213 ).
- Six in 10 children living in poverty are in low-income working families (https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/households-below-average-income-hbai--2 ).
- By 2020, an estimated three quarters of a million more children will be living in poverty than today according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (http://www.ifs.org.uk/comms/r78.pdf )
- The Children’s Society has helped change children’s stories for over a century. We expose injustice and address hard truths, tackling child poverty and neglect head-on. We fight for change based on the experiences of every child we work with and the solid evidence we gather. Through our campaigning, commitment and care, we are determined to give every child in this country the greatest possible chance in life.