4 Sep 2019

Sam Royston, Director of Policy and Research at The Children’s Society, said: “Children are facing shocking levels of poverty and unhappiness, and serious risks including exploitation, knife crime and mental ill-health, but these announcements do not go nearly far enough in ensuring public services are equipped to prevent and tackle these issues.

“New funding for councils, schools, youth centres and the NHS is welcome, as is the commitment to continue funding the Troubled Families programme, but after a decade of cuts these plans are sticking plasters which fall well short of addressing the deep-rooted challenges facing children and families.

“It’s a scandal that more than four million children are now living in poverty and it’s hugely disappointing that despite declaring an end to austerity the Chancellor has not taken this opportunity to set in stone the Government’s commitment to ending the freeze on benefits and tax credits which has contributed to this disgraceful situation.  Nothing has been done to restore dedicated funding for councils to deliver emergency financial support for families who need it, or to ensure that the funding made available for Brexit preparations includes help for families who might struggle to weather the shock that a no-deal exit from the EU could cause.

“While we welcome the new money for social care, it’s unclear how much will reach children’s services, where years of funding cuts have left councils struggling to provide vital preventative help like children’s centres, youth services and support for children affected by substance misuse or domestic abuse.  Councils urgently need a long-term funding commitment to address the estimated £3bn shortfall facing children’s services by 2025 and help prevent thousands more children reaching crisis point.

“With our new research showing children are at their unhappiest for a decade, we want the Government to move beyond disparate announcements affecting children and commit to a long-term plan to measure and improve children’s well-being in all areas of their lives.”

Media enquiries

For more information, please contact Senior Media Officer Rob Devey on 07814 525918 or rob.devey@childrenssociety.org.uk. For out-of-hours enquiries please call 07810 796 508.