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Old-fashioned kinds of poverty affecting child health

12 May 2017
It’s nearly a year since the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health first joined forces with Child Poverty Action Group to explore the links between poverty and children’s health. We know that four million children in the UK live in poverty, and we know that there is a demonstrable link between social disadvantage and poor health outcomes...

Election 2017 manifesto

04 May 2017
We entered this general election campaign with child poverty at 4 million, projected to rise to 5.1 million by the end of the next parliament (assuming it’s a five-year term). The next government must get to grips with the underlying causes of poverty to make sure all children have a great start in life – and the opportunity to thrive. We have set out the practical steps politicians can take after 8 June to tackle child poverty.

Unfinished business: where next for extended schools?

20 September 2016
It’s a public policy reform that has the potential to help the Government to solve two major policy headaches – improving access to affordable childcare for working parents and helping schools cut the attainment gap between richer and poorer children – but the number of extended schools remains inadequate. 

David Cameron's record on child poverty

13 July 2016
David Cameron’s final words at PMQs today – “Nothing is really impossible if you put your mind to it” – bring to my mind one of his early speeches on poverty. 

Divided Britain

01 July 2016
In searching for explanations for the cataclysmic events of 23 June, commentators have alighted on the obvious voting divides by age, region and level of disadvantage across the UK. The amazing thing is that this should come as any surprise.

Advising foodbank clients - one year on

16 May 2016
We started providing welfare rights advice to clients of the Tower Hamlets Foodbank as part of First Love Foundation’s Advice & Support project almost three years ago, thanks to help from the Pears Foundation. It’s now been a year since the project was scaled up with support from the Big Lottery Fund and I joined the team. 

The big warning in Unicef’s report on child wellbeing

18 April 2016
Unicef’s analysis of child wellbeing across the developed world, released today, is emphatic that increasing family incomes is a critical tool to boost children’s educational success, health and happiness. In saying this, it is issuing a pretty clear warning to the United Kingdom government that poverty-producing policies will deprive children of happy, healthy and secure childhoods.

Small steps forward on sanctions

13 November 2015
In many ways, benefit sanctions offer the holy grail of public policy: the opportunity to find small changes that make a big difference, at little or no cost to the public purse. In its belated response to the Work and Pensions Committee’s report on sanctions in March of this year, the government has outlined a number of such policy changes.

No such thing as a free lunch?

22 September 2015
A mere two years ago, the government introduced universal free school meals for infants. We were delighted at the time - and said so. Evidence from pilot projects showed that while all children benefit from free school meals, low-income children benefit the most.

Sanctions: where's the support?

22 July 2015
It’s all change at Westminster – once again. After five years dominated by the pace and scale of change to the social security system, the new Parliament promises some more pretty big changes, many of which were discussed in this week’s Welfare Reform & Work Bill debate.