SNAP Cymru welcomed the published report of the office of the Children’s Commissioner England earlier this summer. We should consider the report in Wales because although the report has been completed for England it is likely that the new universal credit and welfare reforms will undoubtedly apply equally to Wales.
The report recognises that the overall impact of the tax benefit reforms is likely to be in breach of Article 2 of the UNCRC – non discrimination. Article 23 – the rights of disabled children to special assistance, article 24 – the right to the highest attainable standard of health, Article 27 – the right to have nutrition, housing and clothing, Article 28 and 29 – the right to education and Article 31 the right to leisure culture and play.
Children with additional learning needs including disability are already adversely affected and more likely to experience poverty and deprivation. These children are also more likely to experience exclusion from education and other service which furthers hinders their development and life chances.
SNAP Cymru urge all services that work with families to ensure that the needs of the child are always central to decision making and that the voice of the child is always heard and fully considered. Children and young people must be the top priority. This is needed more than ever in the light of the projected impact on families with children in the next two years.
Our education and early year’s budgets will not necessarily be the same but overall the cuts will affect children in lone parent families very adversely and children in all families more adversely than families without children; disabled children will. be adversely affected, There is also acknowledgement that children with lower levels of disability and health needs are and will be more adversely affected as their needs also have an impact on the parents opportunities to work and secure sufficient income.
SNAP Cymru urges all agencies working with children and families to record and collate statistics on lone parents; worklessness, and the reasons for worklessness, instances of exclusion from services. The third sector has a significant role to play and can inform and influence opinion formers and decision makes by providing evidence through data and case study demonstrating the effects of poverty and deprivation whenever we can.