Widening inequalities for children in the north of England cost billions, increase poverty, claim the lives of children

Professor of Public Health and Policy at the University of Liverpool and co-lead author of the David Taylor Robinson report said: “Children growing up in the north of England have a bad business. Due to poverty and lack of investment, their results are worse across the board – from the risk of childhood death to obesity, mental health and education, and the pandemic has exacerbated the situation. The glaring inequalities outlined in our report are preventable and unfair. Upgrading must start with better policies for children.

Hannah Davies, Head of Health Inequalities for the Northern Health Science Alliance and co-author of the report, said: “This new report illustrates unequivocally that without important and properly funded measures to tackle the entrenched inequalities experienced by children in the north of England, from birth there will be no leveling up. in the country.”

Stephen Parkinson, of the N8 Research Partnership and co-author of the report, said: “If we do not focus on children during the recovery, we risk overwhelming them with some of the most lasting consequences of the pandemic. As this report indicates, children growing up in the North have in many ways been disproportionately affected, and we call on governments at all levels to commit to our recommendations to ensure they have the best possible future.

The authors proposed a set of recommendations to address the inequalities suffered by children during the pandemic. They understand:

  1. Increase public investments in social protection, health and social protection systems that support children’s health, especially in disadvantaged areas and areas most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  2. Tackle the negative impacts of the pandemic in the North through rapid and targeted investments in early childhood services, such as the Health Improvement Fund. This should include health visits, family centers and children’s centers – as the Leadsom review argues – but with iInvestment proportional to needs and deprivation in the area properly taken into account.
  3. Maternity and early childhood service commissioners must consider the impact of pandemic-related service changes on inequalities in the experiences and outcomes of families and children. This should shape service delivery during the recovery.
  4. Take immediate action to combat child poverty. Increase family allowances by £ 10 per child per week. Increase the child element in the universal credit and increase the child tax credits.
  5. We have to feed our children. Introduce free school meals for all, make the holiday and food program permanent and expand it to support all low-income families. Promote the provision of Healthy Start vouchers to all children under five and make existing government food standards mandatory in all early childhood settings.
  6. The government should prioritize supporting disadvantaged localities by increasing spending available for schools serving the most disadvantaged pupils in England. This requires a reversal of the current approach to resource allocation: the new national funding formula will provide 3 to 4 percentage points less funding to schools in poorer areas compared to those in richer areas.
  7. Support educational communities to initiate earlier interventions. Teachers and early childhood professionals see many of the early indicators of children’s risk and vulnerability. Emphasizing strong relationships between students and staff and collaboration with parents / guardians will provide a solid foundation for meeting children’s needs and for a return to learning.
  8. NHS England and the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities should adopt a public mental health approach that emphasizes the prevention of mental illnesses early in life, recognizing the importance of early detection and treatment. quick access to professional treatment.
  9. The government should invest and develop a place-based surveillance system to understand the long-term mental health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on children and parents. Targeted support should then be provided to families when needed, including outreach services more closely tailored to the needs of vulnerable parents.
  10. Regional measures of children’s physical and mental health should be developed to better understand place-based inequalities.
  11. More research by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) should be undertaken on the relationship between child health and economic performance, especially to understand the likely causal pathways between these in order to identify the entry points for politics.
  12. The government should reinvest in services that tackle domestic violence, recognizing the role played by domestic violence, not only in children in care, but also in high-conflict divorce and separation cases, which are also disproportionate in the situation. North.
  13. Address the uneven geographic distribution of residential care for children, including secure delivery, to reduce the disproportionate burden on the North.

An impact assessment of the disproportionate costs for a range of services in the North due to the number of children with complex care and support needs is necessary and long overdue.

  1. Integrate equity impact assessments into all COVID-19 recovery processes and other policy processes related to socio-economic deprivation at national, regional and local levels.
  2. Use children’s rights impact assessments to anticipate and assess the specific impact of COVID-19 recovery strategies on children and youth. Collect, disaggregate and publish relevant data so that the impact of the pandemic on children can be routinely assessed.
  3. Promote and expand the audit of racial disparities, with a greater focus on children and based on data disaggregated by region. Ethnicity should be included in all national public health data collection systems, including maternal and child health data sets.
  4. Increase the representation of ethnic minority staff in public services and in decision-making processes with specific recruitment targets, recruitment campaigns and greater transparency on the percentage of ethnic minority staff. This should be particularly in managerial positions, to reflect the populations served.
  5. Local COVID-19 recovery strategies must be based on internationally recognized human rights values ​​and principles, including those contained in the 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

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