Commissioner urges politicians to make children’s lives a priority plan
The Children’s Commissioner for England has used youngsters’ feedback to outline how a future government could help transform children’s life chances.
With a General Election likely in the coming months, Anne Longfield says that while politicians talk constantly about other issues like Brexit, transport and taxes, she has heard little from them about the future of the nation’s children.
She says the country should be ‘ashamed’ that millions of children are not having the life they should, and that while they ‘need a voice’ this will not happen unless politicians choose to listen to them.
Guess How Much We Love You: A Manifesto for Children is a publication that calls on political parties to include a six-point plan in their election manifesto to both radically affect the lives of disadvantaged youngsters and help all England’s 12 million children to thrive.
Focusing on some of the key issues that children have told the Commissioner’s office are affecting their lives, Anne Longfield says the document reflects many of the subjects that she has already tried to tackle. These include children growing up in chaotic families, poor mental health services and living in poor quality housing in cities across the UK.
‘We get the society we choose’
“We should be ashamed that there are literally million of kids in England not having the childhood we in a decent society would want them to have,” she says. “Yet none of this is inevitable; we get the society we choose. The right help at the right time pays dividends – the children, to society and the public purse, now and in the future.”
The six key themes identified by the Commissioner are: supporting stronger families; providing decent places for children to live; helping children to have healthy minds; keeping children active; providing Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) support, and creating safer streets and play areas. It also gives potential costs of policy proposals.
‘It demands all political parties take action’
“I want England to be a great place for all children to grow up,” she adds. “The building blocks of a good childhood haven’t changed – secure relationships, a decent home and inspiring schools. I want politicians to think seriously about whether they are truly prioritising these things for children. I’ve heard more national political conversation about HS2, water nationalisation and tax cuts – and of course Brexit – than I have about children.
“This manifesto sets out a vision for more child, and family-focused society. It demands that all political parties take action in their manifestos to improve the lives of kids.”