As part of the Health Policy Influencing Group, the iHV is delighted to support the National Children’s Bureau (NCB) with the vision to #BuildBackChildhood which harnesses the support of over 700 organisations demanding that the Chancellor makes a strategic investment in babies, children, young people and families at the autumn Spending Review. It is the latest action in the high-profile Children at the Heart movement, coordinated by the National Children’s Bureau, calling for children to be remembered in spending plans.
Babies and children’s health, wellbeing and life chances are strongly shaped by the circumstances of their birth and the environments in which they live. The pandemic has exposed widening health inequalities, with disadvantaged children falling even further behind and vulnerable children bearing the impact of disruption to education and other vital services.
“As we recover, we face a choice: do we create a more level playing field in our society? Or do we simply return to what was there before? It’s this government’s mission to unite and level up across the whole of the UK, to build back better and to build back fairer.” – Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Health
The NCB highlights how the Spending Review is a turning point:
“Instead of going back to how things were, this is our chance to look to the future – a future where every child feels safe, secure and supported. This is our chance to Build Back Childhood to ensure that babies, children and young people are not forgotten.”
Public services are caught in a cycle of increasing demand and late intervention. We risk every penny of the new NHS and social care levy being swallowed up by increased demand unless this is resolved. The Government must explicitly re-balance spending towards prevention and early intervention in childhood in order to reduce costs and burden on the NHS.
The #BuildBackChildhood campaign includes the following policy recommendations:
- £500 million ringfenced uplifts in the Public Health Grant over the next three years to train and recruit 3000 new health visitors. This will enable local authorities to create strong and innovative health visiting services.
- Reverse the £20 a week cut to Universal Credit and increase legacy benefits by £20 a week – reducing child poverty by 350,000.
- Scrap the benefit cap and two-child limit – this would only cost £1.9 billion and would pull nearly 300,000 children out of poverty.
- £103 million per year to support 500,000 young people through community mental health hubs.
- An expansion of the Family Hubs network to provide an access point in local communities to provide help for families who need it.
- Doubling the Supporting Families Programme to £330 million to provide early help to families facing multiple disadvantages.
- The rapid expansion of Mental Health Support Teams so that all pupils are schools are covered by 2023.
- Local areas to tackle the backlog of assessments and address the impact of missed therapies.
- The launch of an independent review into childcare and early education funding and affordability, including whether current spending is sufficient to deliver the free entitlements.
“We are delighted to support this growing groundswell of organisations coming together with a united voice calling on the Government to #BuildBackChildhood . The evidence is clear, if we are serious about wanting to ‘level-up’ society and support public services which are flooded with increasing need, it is essential that we start in the earliest years of life and invest in our children, who are our future – there is no smarter investment” – Alison Morton, Executive Director iHV