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London: a city for all children?

A children’s voluntary sector event to co-ordinate a response to the Mayor of London’s new strategic vision has focused on the plight of London children living in poverty and the funding crisis facing children’s services in the London boroughs.

The new Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan has published his vision for the capital A City for all Londoners, which outlines what he sees as the top challenges and opportunities in the capital, and the changes that City Hall wants to deliver over the next four years.

In response, some leading children’s charities have held a one-day event for the children’s services sector. ‘A City for All Children’ was hosted by the 4in10 child poverty network, in partnership with Engage London and Children England. The event explored what the Mayor’s strategy must deliver for children, and tried to identify the key priorities for London’s children for the next few years.

Children’s services funding

Kathy Evans, the Chief Executive of Children England highlighted the challenging context for children’s services in London in the face of projections that the formula grants from central government to local authorities, which made up 39% of council budgets in 2010/11, will be completely gone by 2019/2020 – with no clear plans for how vital services such as child protection will be funded.

4in10’s Strategic Manager, Laura Payne spoke about child poverty in London and in inner city boroughs in particular. She said the Mayor’s strategy needed to lower living costs and improve the environment for families in London, focusing on childcare, early education, housing (cost, stability, quality), tackling low pay or exploitative employment practice, and improving healthy spaces to learn and play.

Welfare reforms

The final speaker, Giovanni Tonutti, discussed the impact of welfare reform on low-income families, highlighting data which shows planned welfare reforms will leave low income families £41.45 a week worse off in real terms by 2020 compared to April 2016.

The second half of the session was group discussion with participants engaging on four of the five key areas of the consultation proposals:  Economy, Housing, Accommodating Growth, and the overarching theme, a City for All Londoners. The discussions, and proffered solutions, were used in the 4in10 response to the Mayor’s consultation.

Photo: Deptford Jon (artist: Banksy)

A full report of the event, A City for All Children can be downloaded here.

Author: Adrian Voce

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