CORAM children’s charity has published its Charter for Children, calling for a realignment of the social contract between society and its children and young people through a ‘triple key’ of financial commitments from government, designed to give them a just settlement.
The Charter sets out a route map for change for the coming decade and beyond, arguing that just as the triple lock on pensions introduced in 2010 has built economic security into the system for older people, we now need to give the youngest in society similar levels of security.
Taken together, the estimated cost by the end of the decade of the proposals set out is put at between £16.2 billion and £17.7 billion per annum at current prices, between 0.6 and 0.7 per cent of our joint national income and significantly less than a penny in the pound. The total cost would build up progressively over time so the average annual increase in public spending would be in the region of £2 billion per annum.
Coram has also published the prospectus for the Coram Institute for Children, a dedicated research centre dedicated to find evidence-based solutions to the challenges facing children and young people in policy, law and practice. The Institute will play a key role in working to fulfil the goals of the Charter.
Dr Carol Homden, Coram CEO, said: “For most children today, life is significantly better than it was when Thomas Coram set up this charity in 1739. However, through our day-to-day work and a range of metrics it is clear to us that decades of progress have stalled and even gone into reverse. We are the first generation in a long time unable to state with confidence that life is getting better for children and young people.
“But it doesn’t have to be like this – change is possible. The Charter sets out what we believe to be the fundamentals to ensure that we nourish, educate and give stability to all of our children and young people and ensure their rights are upheld. Its proposals are fully costed. We have rightly committed to delivering security to older generations through the pensions triple lock. It is time that we afford the same security and protection to the next generations too with a view to achieving a just settlement for all.”
Professor Jonathan Portes, Professor of Economics and Public Policy at King’s College London and Coram trustee, said: “The ‘triple lock’ has been vital in underpinning a measure of economic security for pensioners over the last decade. Our analysis shows how a ‘triple key’ could do the same for children – guaranteeing not a one-off spending increase, but a sustained commitment over time to ensure that we both ensure invest in our children’s future and provide a basic level of financial support to families. It also shows that doing so would cost well under a penny in every pound of national income by the end of the decade. Not only can we afford to do this – we can’t afford not to.”
Gordon Brown, the United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education and former prime minister of the United Kingdom, said: “For too long, we have failed to invest in our children and the result has been the rise in poverty and deprivation – and the tragic blight of young lives that is now visible across the country. It is time for change, and we will all read with interest the compelling blueprint Coram has set out for the realignment of the social contract between society and children.
“I’m delighted to applaud the creation of the Coram Institute for Children which will provide a vital focus for policy and practice so that instead of unlocking the potential of only some children in some parts of the country we unlock all the potential of all children in all parts of the country.”
* Source: Coram