top of page
Adults'
All features
Training
Children's

Social workers and educational psychologists join forces to fight cost of living crisis

The Social Workers Union and the Association of Educational Psychologists have called for ‘urgent action’ as the impact of the cost-of-living crisis puts young people’s future in jeopardy.

16/05/23

Social workers and educational psychologists join forces to fight cost of living crisis

The long-term impact of the cost-of-living crisis prompted a joint plea from the Social Workers Union and the Association of Educational Psychologists.

In a motion asking for support for their campaign from the General Federation of Trade Unions (GFTU) AGM this weekend (Sunday 14 - Tuesday 16 May), the two groups point to recent research that three quarters (75%) of social workers strongly agreed that more children will come into care due to a cost-of-living crisis.

“Government austerity policy has had huge impacts on the day-to-day lives of both local authority workers and the populations they serve,” one Educational Psychologist (EP) working in the North East of England explained. “There has been a clear reduction of services on offer from the public sector. Schools are short staffed, community spaces have been closed down.

“At the same time, the cost-of-living crisis has meant that the poorest people in our communities are now worse off than they were ten years ago. Poverty exacerbates social and mental health problems and has increased the need for educational psychology support, at the same time as the public offer is being reduced.”

New analysis of data for the Warm This Winter campaign also highlighted that for one in five (21%) families with young children under six, the cost-of-living crisis was so bad last winter that they lived in a cold damp home.

A recent Public Health England report found that cold homes and poor housing conditions have been linked with a range of health problems in children. Educational psychologists also point out that while the government aspires to a new numeracy agenda for young people, studies have shown that living in poverty can “sap mental capacity to deal with complex tasks” – equivalent to a loss of 13 IQ points or losing a night's sleep.

Research has also shown that children living in the poorest 20% of households are more than four times as likely to experience severe mental health problems as children from the wealthiest 20%.
Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/aug/29/poverty-mental-capacity-complex-tasks

Dr Cath Lowther, General Secretary of the Association of Educational Psychologists, said austerity has “stripped away” many of the conditions that children and young people need to thrive.

“Poverty has become entrenched and protective services have been decimated. Current conditions significantly jeopardise a future society of happy, well-educated, productive and successful adults.”

Official government statistics show that 4.2 million children were living in poverty, or almost a third (29%) of all children. Angi Naylor from the Austerity Action Group said the conditions social workers and educational psychologists are witnessing today are “like those which Jeremy Bentham and nineteenth century poor law campaigners reported.”

“It’s a bit rich for the rich to tell us to accept being poorer. Millionaires get wealthier and firms make billions in profits while families struggle to clothe and feed themselves,” Angi added.

Calum Gallacher, Assistant General Secretary of the Social Workers Union, added that social workers are reporting increased self-referrals from families, including where there is one working parent, for support to access foodbanks and local authority financial contributions towards electricity.

“Poverty levels are now unacceptable and enforces significant disadvantages on our future generations,” he said.

“Austerity is a humanitarian crisis robbing communities of humane and equitable treatment, and it is counterproductive to greater efficacy of public spending. Basic human needs should not be capitalised on as commodities, we need government insight and action to tackle profiteering on poverty.

“Social Workers will continue to challenge unjust policies which inhibit peoples’ rights and their access to equality and social justice. We now need adequate government intervention so as to provide children with equal opportunities to grow, learn and thrive.”

Paint on Face

Barnardo's

Family Wellbeing Practitioner

Job of the week

Sign up for an informal interview for this role today

£23,400 - £28,600

SWT_SideAd1.png

Featured event

Social World Podcast

Podcast

30 Jan 2024

Instant access

Featured jobs

Barnardo's

Supervising Social Worker

Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Health and Justice Court Practitioner - Social Worker/AHP

SWT_Online_Events_ad.png

Most popular articles today

Bill introduced to remove private profit from the care of looked-after children

Bill introduced to remove private profit from the care of looked-after children

First local authority adults’ services assessments published by CQC

First local authority adults’ services assessments published by CQC

“The system is so broken”: Number of adoptive families reaching crisis point at record levels

“The system is so broken”: Number of adoptive families reaching crisis point at record levels

Only two thirds of councils confident of meeting Care Act duties by next year

Only two thirds of councils confident of meeting Care Act duties by next year

Sponsored Content

What's new today:

Supporting social work students with additional needs during their placement

bottom of page