Joint statement on poverty and the cost-of-living
As Children’s Commissioners for Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, it is our job to promote and protect children’s rights in our respective nations.
“Poverty has a devastating effect on children’s ability to experience their rights. We are deeply concerned about the current cost-of-living crisis, which comes at a time when 3.9 million children across the UK are already living in poverty. Poverty is the most significant human rights issue facing children across the UK. Poverty severely affects all aspects of a child’s life, impacting on their human rights to life and development, to an adequate standard of living, to mental and physical health, to education, to socialise and participate in society.
“Children have told us that they feel poverty robs them of their childhood, but this is not inevitable. We cannot accept children going hungry, being cold and unable to learn and function as a normal part of our society. This is having a disproportionate impact on those children whose rights are already most at risk.
“Living in poverty does not simply affect children’s experience during childhood, it also frequently curtails the life chances available to them as adults, feeding the relentless cycle of intergenerational poverty and undermining social cohesion.
“The UK and devolved Governments are failing in their obligation to use all available resources to the maximum extent possible to ensure children’s rights. Every Government must take a children’s rights-based approach to how it monitors and responds to this crisis over the coming months. We must see deliberate and targeted action to mitigate its impact on children and their ability to access and experience their rights.”
We call on the UK and devolved Governments to urgently:
• Increase the income of families in poverty, through child payments, and increase take up of those who are entitled to support
• Reform the social security system, review thresholds for support and remove punitive benefit caps,
• Reduce the costs to families, particularly the costs associated with education and debt to public authorities
• Target interventions to families in vulnerable situations and ensure families have access to high quality affordable childcare
Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland
Comisiynydd Plant Cymru/Children’s Commissioner for Wales
NI Commissioner for Children and Young People