Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Poor Provision for UK Kids



By Ben Aulakh

The United Kingdom has been ranked below Slovenia and the Czech Republic in a United Nations league table of child welfare in the world richest countries.

The UNICEF report, “Report Card 11”, put the UK in 16th position overall out of 29 countries, in the middle third of all countries ranked.

However the UK ranked 24th for education, although it was ranked 10th for housing, and 14th and 16th for material health and well-being, and health and safety

However the report said that teenage pregnancy rates in the UK remained high, as did the numbers of young people under 19 not in education, employment or training.

The UK also had one of the highest alcohol abuse rates in 11 to 15 year olds.

The UK’s poor showing on provisions for young people has been blamed partly on more than £300 million cut from services for young people in the Coalition governments recent budget.

The report projects that an extra 400,000 more children will be living be in poverty by 2016 because of the recent cuts.

Anita Tiessen of UNICEF UK said, “With the UK ranking near the bottom of the league table on teenage pregnancy and young people not in education, employment or training, we know that many are facing a bleaker future.

“The government needs to acknowledge this and act now, while children and young people will be the first to bear the brunt if we fail to safeguard their well-being, over time society as a whole will pay the price.”

In the Coalitions governments most recent budget benefits for families were capped at an increase of 1 per cent per year, well below the current 2.7 percent rate of inflation

Barnardo’s chief executive Anne Marie Carrie said, “It is shameful that the Government is risking the well-being of vulnerable children growing up in poverty by breaking the link between benefits and inflation.

“This adds to the hardship they faced last year when energy bills soared by up to 10 per cent, leaving the poorest families reporting that they are unable to afford adequate heating.

“This move adds insult to injury as many low income households are already teetering on the brink of financial crisis, squeezed by the rising cost of essentials and high childcare bills that price them out of working more hours.”


Photograph from www.unicef.org.uk


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