General Election 2017, here we go!

Posted by Dan Breslin / Friday 05 May 2017 / General election

You can get a lot done 20 minutes. You could finish a crossword, enjoy a cup of tea or get your daily step count up.

But, if you are the Prime Minister, 20 minutes is all it takes to visit the Queen, hand in your notice, and officially kick off the General Election 2017. (Assuming, of course, that the traffic around Downing Street isn't too bad.)

The first few days have set the stage for the campaign to be dominated by discussions about leaving the European Union. But there is one big issue missing from all of the speeches and announcements: what will each party be doing for disadvantaged children and their families? For Action for Children, there are three key areas where we’d like to see change.

General Election SQUARE

Early years and social mobility: With one in two children from low-income families failing to reach expected developmental milestones by age five, this needs to be a priority for the next government.

This matters because children who begin primary school behind their peers are at risk of remaining behind, increasing the chances they will leave school without the qualification to go on and get the jobs they want.

This election gives parties a chance to explain how they’d give all children the best start in life and reduce the gap in between children from low income families and their peers.

Mental health and emotional wellbeing: Almost one in three of the children we  work with are assessed as having emotional needs. Nationally, one in eight children aged 10-15 report symptoms of mental ill health, And with 75% of adult mental health difficulties starting before the age of 18, urgent action is needed. Loneliness is an increasing problem. Children who are persistently lonely may have poorer physical and mental health.

We want to see sustained investment in preventative approaches to reduce need for specialist mental health support later on.

Fall in early intervention funding 2010 - 2020

Funding for children's services: Councils will be facing an estimated £2 billion funding gap for children’s services by 2020. Local Authorities must have the funding they need to keep children safe and secure. And that includes funding for early help. Between 2010-11 and 2019-20 spending by local authorities on early help services for children, young people and families is estimated to fall by 71%.

Without adequate funding services are unable to step in early to prevent problems escalating. This is worse for children and costs the government even more.

We need the next government to resolve the funding crisis facing children’s social care with measures to incentivise intervening early.

We know where we need to see change but getting MPs and the next government to take notice is where we need your help.

Join us in breaking through the political noise this election, to get the issues affecting children and young people back on the agenda. You can get involved by signing our petition so children aren't forgotten in this election.

And this is one more thing you can do which takes less than 20 minutes.