Britain’s forgotten children and families

Abstract

The Children’s Society, Action for Children and NSPCC came together earlier in 2012 to commission joint research that calculates the impact of the recession and austerity measures on vulnerable children for the first time. This has been published as the attached report (*.PDF Adobe Acrobat), In the Eye of the Storm: Britain’s forgotten children and families. Ekklesia was not involved in the report’s production or commissioning, but we are pleased to promote and support its aims and findings. The research sets out to: (1) measure the number of families with children in Britain who are most vulnerable to adverse economic conditions, using a number of different definitions of ‘vulnerability’; and (2) estimate how these families will be affected over the next few years by the changes to tax and benefits, cuts to public services and the on-going effects of the post-2008 economic downturn.

As well as commissioning and publishing research, Ekklesia partners and supports other organisations and agencies working and reporting in overlapping fields.

In the areas of poverty and welfare, we have worked closely with the Spartacus disability coalition and co-published the Responsible Reform report (http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/responsiblereformDLA). We are also currently co-sponsors of The Children’s Society’s free school meals initiative (http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/16555).

The Children’s Society, Action for Children and NSPCC came together recently to commission joint research that calculates the impact of the recession and austerity measures on vulnerable children for the first time. This is published as the attached report (*.PDF Adobe Acrobat), In the Eye of the Storm: Britain’s forgotten children and families.

Ekklesia was not involved in the report’s production, but we are pleased to be promoting and supporting its aims and findings.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The recession and the resulting austerity is the issue that most defines our times. Yet its impact on the most vulnerable children is too rarely considered – children who, by definition, cannot protect themselves. These children deserve consideration in their own right and a level of political discourse above and beyond the current focus on families and parenting.

It is for this reason that three leading children’s charities, Action for Children, the Children’s Society and the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children commissioned Landman Economics to undertake new research to estimate the number of vulnerable children and families in Britain and the impact of the current economic context on them.

The research set out to:
* measure the number of families with children in Britain who are most vulnerable to adverse economic conditions, using a number of different definitions of ‘vulnerability’; and
* estimate how these families will be affected over the next few years by the changes to tax and benefits, cuts to public services and the on-going effects of the post-2008 economic downturn.

The resulting evidence shows that the number of vulnerable families with children is often understated and on whatever definition that their number will grow substantially in coming years. It also shows that welcome measures put in place to mitigate the impact of the recession on vulnerable families with children are insufficient. These findings underline the urgent need to protect children from the impact of austerity and for particular consideration to be given to the needs of the most vulnerable children and families in our society.

Read the full report here:
http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/files/intheeyeofthestorm.pdf

© Action for Children (www.actionforchildren.org.uk/), The Children’s Society (www.childrenssociety.org.uk/) and NSPCC (www.nspcc.org.uk/), 2012.

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THE AUTHOR

Howard Reed established Landman Economics (www.landman-economics.co.uk/) in 2008. He was previously chief economist at the Institute for Public Policy Research.

6 July 2012