By Maximilian Clarke
The escalation of child poverty in the UK has prompted the UK’s independent ‘Children’s Commissioners’ to call for local children’s’ services to be spared the brunt of the Coalition Government’s budget cuts.
In a joint report to mark the International Day of the Child, the Commissioners outline serious concerns at the high levels of persistent poverty across the UK. They highlight the need for children to be given priority in national and local budgets so that vital children's services are protected.
The report also examines progress made in five areas - participation, children with disabilities, child poverty, children seeking asylum and juvenile justice - against the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, an internationally binding minimum standard for all children and young people that was ratified by the UK Government twenty years ago.
"We, as independent children's champions, have a duty to hold UK Government and its devolved administrations to account,” said Keith Towler, Children's Commissioner for Wales. “We are in constant dialogue with our respective governments to ensure the rights, needs and best interests of every child are upheld.
"Whilst there are developments to be proud of, we continue to see some of our society's most vulnerable being denied a childhood. At the heart of our concerns are the high levels of persistent poverty across the UK.
"We fully acknowledge the considerable challenges facing governments on all levels and that tough decisions have to be made but we are deeply concerned that without assessing the impact of the severe cuts we've seen at all levels of government, we're in real danger of pushing more families into poverty."
This midterm report comes half way through the Convention's reporting cycle, which requires UK Government, as the State Party, to report on progress to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child every five years. The UK last reported to the Committee in 2008.
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