A week after publishing its new league table of child well-being, Unicef held a workshop at the House of Lords to debate the issues arising from the report and give its recommendations ”to those who can do something about them”.
In the report Britain came 16th out of the world’s 29 richest countries – worse than most European countries, including Ireland, Slovenia, France and Germany. This is a move up the table since the first Unicef overview in 2007, but the improvement is not consistent across all areas.
Unicef warned that cuts to local government services are “having a profound negative effect on young people”. It expected young people’s conditions to worsen following the government’s £300 million cut in services for young people.
At the workshop, other research was presented which added to the evidence that Britain’s children and young people were heading for further downgrading. Dave Gordon, a professor and expert on child poverty at the University of Bristol, provided an update on children's material well-being based on Poverty and Social Exclusion in the UK, an independent survey measuring the change in the nature and extent of poverty and social exclusion over the past ten years.
Gordon said the financial insecurity of nearly half of the British population is already having negative effects on children, and these are likely to get worse. ■