18 May 2016

Matthew Reed, our Chief Executive, responds to policies introduced in the Queen’s Speech:


The Government’s welcome interest in improving life chances will mean little without a concerted effort to tackle child poverty, which is projected to rise significantly in the coming years. Reducing the number of families struggling with debt and surviving on low incomes must be at the centre of any new strategy. The best way of improving children’s chances of having a decent start in life is to make sure they are not growing up in cold homes or without hot meals.

If the Government is serious about improving the life chances of the most disadvantaged children and families it will need to do much more, including in the Autumn Statement, to turn its rhetoric into reality. The first step should be scrapping the four-year freeze on children’s benefits and cuts to support for working families under Universal Credit.


We know that the life chances and outcomes for care leavers are significantly worse than for those who have not grown up in care. The Government must address the problem of children in care being uprooted and moved miles away from their communities. It must also make sure care leavers get priority and consistent access to mental health support to tackle the significant disadvantages faced by those growing up in care.


The new Bill of Rights must uphold and protect the rights of children provided by the Human Rights Act. Anything that weakens or endangers those rights would recklessly turn the clock back and leave poor and vulnerable children more exposed to abuse and neglect. The rights of all children, no matter where they are from, or who their parents are, must continue to be protected.


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Notes to editors

The Children’s Society is a national charity that runs local services, helping children and young people when they are at their most vulnerable, and have nowhere left to turn. We also campaign for changes to laws affecting children and young people, to stop the mistakes of the past being repeated in the future. Our supporters around the country fund our services and join our campaigns to show children and young people they are on their side.