Children are a priority for people across the UK, with 84 per cent of adults responding to a recent survey saying that they think it’s important for political parties to outline their plans for children and young people in their manifestos.
The figures were released by the Children’s Charities Coalition, to coincide with the launch the Children at the Table campaign as the country prepares for a general election. The coalition comprises five national children’s charities: Action for Children, Barnardo’s, National Children’s Bureau, NSPCC, and The Children’s Society, which are calling on the government and all political parties to work together to improve the lives of babies, children and young people, put children’s needs and voices at the heart of decision making, and spend more of the nation’s wealth on babies, children and young people.
The data highlights that children feel politicians don’t understand their lives and aren’t listening to them. The charities surveyed 1,000 children and 1,000 adults, Some 62 per cent of UK children think that politicians don’t understand the issues that affect children and young people today; while almost three quarters (73 per cent) don’t feel that children are listened to by politicians. Only 16 per cent of adults believe that politicians fully or mostly understand the issues that affect children and young people.
“A child’s happiness and life chances are shaped by the circumstances of their birth and early life experiences,” said Action for Children CEO Paul Carberry. Yet in the UK today, around 4.2 million children are growing up in poverty and the wellbeing and mental health of the country’s children is in decline.
“We’re asking the next Prime Minister and Chancellor, regardless of political party, to ensure children’s voices are heard so they can meaningfully engage in policy development. We want to see an ambitious strategy to put children’s needs at the heart of the next government and make the UK one of the best places in the world to grow up, with more of the nation’s wealth invested in babies, children and young people.”
Baroness Floella Benjamin, Vice President of Barnardo’s, and former BBC Playschool presenter, said:
“As I always say, ‘Childhood lasts a lifetime’ – so I’m extremely proud to support this campaign to give children a voice in decision making which will affect their whole lives. With widespread poverty, inequality and shrinking support for children and families, there has never been a more vital time to put children at the centre of political parties’ plans for the next government.”
More on this story can be found on Action for Children’s website.