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Tax profits on children’s social care private providers, former Commissioner says

The former Children’s Commissioner for England has outlined a ten-point plan for the next Government to improve life chances for disadvantaged children, including setting up a poverty hub, scrapping the two-child benefit cap, and expanding Children and Family Hubs to all disadvantaged areas.

26/06/24

Tax profits on children’s social care private providers, former Commissioner says

The Centre for Young Lives has proposed a windfall tax on children’s social care private providers profits to fund a five-year programme of early intervention and expanded kinship care support.

The thinktank, set up by former Children’s Commissioner for England Anne Longfield, says the earlier intervention would help to reduce the number of children entering care by 30% by 2029.

The proposal comes as part of the Centre’s ten-point plan set out for the next Government to boost children’s life chances addressing problems that have had little air time during the General Election campaign.

The proposals include introducing a one-off £1bn children and young people’s mental health recovery programme, part-financed by a levy on social media companies and mobile phone providers, and a call on the next Government to commission an independent review into the impact of smart phones and social media on children’s health and development to provide the strongest evidence base for an updated Online Safety Act.

The priorities also include a call to abolish the two-child benefit cap, the establishment of a No10 Poverty Unit tasked with halving child poverty by 2029, and the expansion of Free School Meals to all children with families in receipt of Universal Credit. The Centre urges the next Government to extend Free School Meals to all primary school children by the end of the Parliament.

The Centre calls on the next Government to reform Ofsted inspections and develop and introduce an inclusion measurement which rewards schools that ensure all their children and young people have access to high quality education, regardless of background and need. It also argues that Care Experience should be made a protected characteristic.

It also proposes the introduction of a register of children not in school, something promised by Government in April 2019 but never delivered; as well as allocating £1bn from the Government’s Levelling Up Fund to expand the number of Children’s and Family Hubs to all disadvantaged areas by 2029 alongside a roll out of Youth Hubs in those areas most affected by serious violence and knife crime, and a Government-backed review to develop a refreshed Sure Start model.

Anne Longfield, Executive Chair of the Centre for Young Lives, criticised the “half-hearted reforms to services” and “sticking plaster investment” that has failed to meet the scale of challenges following years of austerity and the pandemic.

“Millions of children are growing up in families where there is domestic abuse, addiction, and/or serious mental health problems, on the edge of statutory services but not receiving any real help,” she said, adding: “The children’s social care system is on the brink and the Government has not implemented enough of its own independent review’s recommendations.”

“Too many of our children are falling through the gaps. A new Government, whoever is elected, offers the chance of a reset and a new approach to boosting opportunities for all children, wherever they grow up and whatever their background."

Read the ten priorities: https://tinyurl.com/tenprioritiespdf

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