11 Mar 2020

Responding to today’s Budget, Mark Russell, Chief Executive at The Children’s Society, said:   

“Today’s budget provides some welcome  'levelling up’ measures that seek to address the disparity around Britain’s regions, and yet for children, young people and families it simply does not go far enough to address the scale of the challenges they currently face.”  

Higher rate of housing benefit for care leavers   

“We are delighted to see the long overdue extension of higher rates of housing benefit to care leavers until the age of 25, giving them stability in their accommodation beyond their 22nd birthday.    

“Under the current arrangement a care leaver could be forced to move from their stable home to shared accommodation at the age of 22 following a cut to their housing support.  We’re pleased that the Government have listened to our campaigning on this issue and recognised that this cliff edge was putting care leavers’ safety and well-being at risk.  We look forward to working with the Government on the introduction of this new measure.”  

Children’s services funding  

“Children’s services urgently need additional funding, and it is disappointing that more has not been done to address this. Too many children are not getting the help they deserve, without which they may be more likely to be unhappy, go missing and be at risk of criminal and sexual exploitation.   

“The £1bn a year extra previously pledged by the Government covers the entire social care system, including adult care, and while welcome, falls far short of what is needed.   

“The Government’s promised social care review must address this shortfall and ensure councils get the long-term funding they need to support all children and families who need help.”  

Local Welfare Assistance  

“It is good to see the Government responding to the Cornoavirus outbreak with additional emergency funding for councils to support vulnerable people.  However, it also needs to give councils long-term, targeted funding for the provision of emergency help for families in a crisis. Lack of targeted funding has meant many councils have cut so-called “local welfare assistance” schemes supporting families facing a financial emergency, and now 1 in 7 councils no longer provide these schemes. Councils  should get the funding they need to provide the best possible safety net for families”   
Benefits freeze   

“The Government’s manifesto committed to cutting the cost of living. Whilst we have welcomed previous announcements that the long overdue commitment that the benefits freeze will end this April, with more than 4 million children growing up in the shadow of poverty and rising costs of family essentials such as school uniform, we need to see more emphasis placed on putting more money in the pockets of our poorest families, including through an end to the five-week waiting period for Universal Credit”.   

Media enquiries 

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

Notes to editors:   

·        The Children’s Society is a national charity that helps the most vulnerable children and young people in Britain today. We run services and campaigns to make children’s lives better and change the systems that are placing them in danger. We listen. We support. We act. Together with our supporters we’re improving the lives of children today and building hope for a better future.