The former Children’s Commissioner for England has claimed the government is in denial about the “shameful” damage the policies announced in yesterday’s Budget will do to children and young people.
Maggie Atkinson, who was the commissioner from 2009 until March this year, said cuts to unprotected Department for Education funding for social care and
safeguarding, as well as limits on schools’ spending, will cause “enormous difficulties” for post-16 and adult education.
Writing exclusively for LGC, Ms Atkinson says the government has denied “long-standing” warnings that are “backed by evidence” of the damage to the population’s skills that the government’s policies will cause.
She also accused the government of ignoring evidence that its £200m in-year cuts to local authorities’ public health budgets, as well as the costs of implementing the 2014 Care Act and Children and Families Act, will damage frontline health and social care services.
Ms Atkinson criticised the chancellor’s move yesterday to introduce a ‘national living wage premium’, the benefits of which, she said, “will be cancelled out by the withdrawal of in-work tax credits and other benefits”, as well as the withdrawal of housing benefit for 18- to 21-year-olds and student grants.
She claimed that the impact of the previous parliament’s cuts, coupled with spending reductions announced in this Budget, will leave “swathes of the population – particularly children and young people – at the bottom without hope of a foothold”.