Four UK Children's Commissioners join forces to express concern over spending cuts
21 November 2011
The four UK Children's Commissioners will today call for an urgent reassessment of the impact of the Coalition Government's Spending Review on the needs of vulnerable children.
In a joint report to mark the International Day of the Child, the Commissioners outline serious concerns at the high levels of persistent poverty across the UK. They highlight the need for children to be given priority in national and local budgets so that vital children's services are protected.
The report also examines progress made in five areas - participation, children with disabilities, child poverty, children seeking asylum and juvenile justice - against the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, an internationally binding minimum standard for all children and young people that was ratified by the UK Government twenty years ago.
Speaking on behalf of the four Commissioners, Keith Towler, Children's Commissioner for Wales, said:
"We, as independent children's champions, have a duty to hold UK Government and its devolved administrations to account. We are in constant dialogue with our respective governments to ensure the rights, needs and best interests of every child are upheld.
"Whilst there are developments to be proud of, we continue to see some of our society's most vulnerable being denied a childhood. At the heart of our concerns are the high levels of persistent poverty across the UK.
"We fully acknowledge the considerable challenges facing governments on all levels and that tough decisions have to be made but we are deeply concerned that without assessing the impact of the severe cuts we've seen at all levels of government, we're in real danger of pushing more families into poverty."
This midterm report comes half way through the Convention's reporting cycle, which requires UK Government, as the State Party, to report on progress to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child every five years. The UK last reported to the Committee in 2008.
Notes to editors:
1. You can download the four UK Children's Commissioners' midterm report here
2. The Commissioners' midterm report is supported by an evidence document, available here
3. Resources have been created for each jurisdiction to help children and young people understand the United Nations reporting process and children's rights. The English version is available to download for free here
4. The Office of the Children's Commissioner is a national organisation led by the Children's Commissioner for England, Dr Maggie Atkinson. The post of Children's Commissioner for England was established by the Children Act 2004. It requires us to refer to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) when planning and carrying out our work. The Children's Commissioner has a duty to promote the views and interests of all children in England, in particular those whose voices are least likely to be heard, to the people who make decisions about their lives.
5. For further information about the UNCRC reporting process, please log on to http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/crc/index.htm
For media enquiries contact:
Denise Malcolm, Senior Communications Officer, at the Office of the Children's Commissioner for England on T: 020 7783 8580 / 8330, E: firstname.lastname@example.org