Local authority leaders have called for a cross-government strategy to ensure that children and young people are at the heart of the post-pandemic national recovery.
The Local Government Association (LGA) says that councils have worked hard to support young people during the lockdown but often receive ‘unclear’ messages from Government about priorities.
In a new policy paper, titled A Child-Centred Recovery, the LGA has raised concerns over instances where Government departments have not aligned their objectives – such as with their child-focused campaigns – which have left councils unclear which campaign to prioritise or how they supported each other.
The paper calls for a cross-Whitehall strategy that puts children and young people at the heart of recovery, to ensure every child can recover lost learning and life experiences, with local safety nets properly resourced and well organised.
The LGA also urged the Government to make available the £500m Youth Investment Fund, which was first promised in September 2019, as soon as possible. It is also calling on Government to restore £1.7bn in lost Early Intervention Grant funding to councils.
‘Our young?people?will feel the impact of the pandemic for many years to come and it will be more important than ever to make sure that the right approaches are taken to help families,’ said Cllr Anntoinette Bramble, chair of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board.
‘A cross-Whitehall strategy is needed that puts children and young people at the heart of recovery and ensures the services that support children and their families are fully funded so the younger generation can lead more enriched and fulfilling lives as we emerge from the pandemic.
‘We want to work with Government to ‘Build back local’ and help give all children a great childhood and help families to thrive, rather than struggle. This means developing a strategy which will focus on how we can level up for the?next?generation and ensure young people get the best opportunities, no matter where they are from.’
The LGA's report coincides with research published by the TUC that found that over a million children of key workers are currently living in poverty.