Children must be at the heart of UK’s recovery

We are among more than 150 organisations who are calling on the government to put children at the heart of the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The joint statement is being published ahead of today’s speech by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in which he will set out his recovery investment plans.

The statement urges the Prime Minister to announce that children join health and the economy as the three pillars of the government’s coronavirus response. It calls for an ambitious, radical plan that will be transformational for the generation of children growing up in the shadow of the virus.

Zillah Bingley, Chief Executive of Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity, said:

"The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the lives of every baby, child and young person in the country. This generation of children face unprecedented threats to their childhoods and life chances, and they deserve an unprecedented response.
The coming emergency Budget must be the start of a rescue, recovery and rebuild plan to prioritise, support and enable our children to thrive. While new money has been announced for investing in schools, the Prime Minister must go further and invest in the full range of services and support that children need.
Even before the onset of the crisis, many services supporting families and children were at breaking point, stretched by rising need and reduced government funding. COVID-19 now threatens to cast its shadow for years to come on the current generation of children and young people.
We know from our recent surveys of families whom Rainbow Trust has been supporting during the pandemic that many seriously ill children and their healthy siblings have felt anxious and isolated while their household has been shielding and normal routines have been put on hold, and this uncertainty is set to continue while the risk of infection remains.
Rainbow Trust strongly backs this call from across the children’s sector for the Government to embrace a new vision of childhood to support children, young people and their families to recover from the impact of COVID-19. The voices of children, young people and families must be at the heart of the recovery and rebuild process, and there must be renewed investment in the services and workforce that they rely on."

The statement calls for action and investment across Whitehall and in town halls, including: funding for early help services and public health; supporting innovation and integrated working, particularly with charities; dedicated financial support for children; support for early years settings and schools so attainment gains are protected; and unprecedented investment in children’s mental health. This must be accompanied by a commitment to protect children facing additional challenges, like those with disabilities, asylum seekers, abuse victims and those from minority communities.

The statement is backed by a wide range of charities including the National Children’s Bureau, Action for Children, the Children’s Society, and Children England. Read the full statement here.