Government measures need more focus on vulnerable children

04 June 2014

Matthew Reed, Chief Executive of The Children’s Society, in response to the Queen’s Speech said:

On tax-free childcare

'Childcare is critical to making work pay for the millions of working families struggling to make ends meet on low-incomes. But this measure overlooks the families that are on Universal Credit.

'In addition, too often families miss out on this crucial help because the system is too complex, pushing them and their children into poverty. The government’s moves to make childcare more available can only be effective if it makes sure the system is simple and accessible.'

On Modern Slavery Bill

'The Modern Slavery Bill is a huge step forward in helping to tackle this horrific abuse. But too often victims of this brutal crime are treated as criminals. To make a real difference to the lives of trafficked children, the government must change the law so that children who are trafficked are always treated as victims.

'It needs to extend guardianship for trafficked children to all children found on their own in the UK – including those fleeing war and torture. This will help these children get the protection they need, make them more visible and keep them safe from abuse and re-trafficking. This is too important an opportunity to miss.'

On emotional neglect

'The current law on neglect is outdated and woefully inadequate, it is welcome news that it will be updated in the Serious Crime Bill. It is critical that the police are given the powers necessary to prosecute anybody who commits emotional cruelty to children which will bring the law into line with the criminal offence of physical neglect.'

Personal allowance on income tax

'Although it is good to see the government take action to increase support for families on the lowest incomes, too often they fail to benefit from personal allowance increases because gains from tax cuts are lost through deductions from benefits. The government needs to make sure these families also benefit from this measure.'

Media enquiries

For more information, please call The Children’s Society media team on 020 7841 4422 or email. For out-of-hours enquiries please call 07810 796 508.

Notes to editors

  • For more information on how the last three Queen’s Speeches have affected children, see our Queen's Speech 2010-2013 analysis.
  • The Children’s Society wants to create a society where children and young people are valued, respected and happy. We are committed to helping vulnerable and disadvantaged young people, including children in care and young runaways. We give a voice to disabled children, help young refugees to rebuild their lives and provide relief for young carers. Through our campaigns and research, we seek to influence policy and perceptions so that young people have a better chance in life. Someone who acts on their behalf and can help guide them through the extremely complex system. These children deserve to be kept safe so they can recover from the trauma they have suffered and rebuild their lives.