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PM must prioritise children as much as health and economy

Plea from over 150 organisations including Social Workers Union

The Prime Minister must make this generation of children as central to the nation’s Coronavirus recovery plans as health and the economy – that’s the message from more than 150 charities, teachers, unions and frontline services in a joint statement issued today, ahead of this week’s PM speech and Chancellor’s mini budget in July.

The charities and unions warn the Government that today’s children and young people are facing unprecedented threats to their childhoods and futures. As well as the disruption to their schooling, living standards and family lives caused by the crisis, they have been growing up at a time where services protecting children are at breaking point, school budgets under pressure and job losses soaring.

With family budgets taking a hammering from lockdown, organisations including Social Workers Union, Action for Children, Barnardo’s, National Children’s Bureau, NSPCC, The Children’s Society and many others, have joined forces to urge the government to prioritise and protect vulnerable children and young people, starting with the Chancellor’s mini-Budget expected in early July.

As well as giving financial support to shore up family finances, the Prime Minister is being called on to protect the most vulnerable children and young people, including those with disabilities, mental health difficulties, children who have suffered abuse and those from minority communities.

John McGowan, General Secretary of Social Workers Union stated that ‘Those working with children will be essential in getting the country back on its feet and investment in this must play a central part of the Chancellor’s plans, including funding for local authority children’s services that step in early to help children before families reach breaking point as well as mental health and wellbeing support for children returning to school’.

Helen, 50, from Devon is a full-time carer for her seven-year-old, Sam, who is autistic. The family has just been managing to get by thanks to her husband’s earnings as a taxi driver, but the impact of coronavirus is already hitting their income hard.

“We’ve been living hand to mouth since the pandemic hit and when my husband said he’d only had a couple of driving jobs in a day, I didn’t know what to do. Our main worry is if it comes to the point where money runs out. What if we can’t put food on the table or how long before we can get Universal Credit? What if we get ill and are stuck in lockdown? Nobody has an answer.

“I’m struggling mentally and trying not to panic, to hold the family together, but I’m also thinking ‘what next? Or wondering where I can find bread and milk. The repercussions will hurt children the most.”

The statement and the full list of 152 organisations supporting it are available at: www.ncb.org.uk/childrenattheheartofrecovery