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Government accused of ignoring young people in spending plans

Children and young people are being ignored in the government’s spending plans, a coalition of organisations working with vulnerable children have warned.

In an open letter to the prime minister and chancellor, the organisations warn that there is compelling evidence that the services and support that children and young people rely on "are at breaking point" due to children being ignored in spending plans.

"We have come together at this crucial time to urge you to put children and young people at the heart of government spending," said the letter.

The influential group of more than 120 children’s charities, teaching unions and other organisations that have signed the letter include the National Children's Bureau, The Children's Society, The Council for Disabled Children, YoungMinds, Place2be, National association of Head Teachers, The Fostering Network, BASW, Mind and the Children and Young People's Mental Health Coalition.

The letter highlights that:

- Ninety children are being taken into care every day - a record high.

- Fewer than a third of children and young people with a diagnosable mental health problem will get access to NHS funded treatment this year.

- Only three in a hundred families of disabled children think the health and care services available to their children are adequate.

- Almost three-quarters of school leaders expect they will be unable to balance their budgets in the next financial year.

- The number of children with special educational needs who are awaiting provision has more than doubled since 2010.

- Up to 3 million children are at risk of going hungry during school holidays.

Anna Feuchtwang, Chief Executive of the National Children’s Bureau and Chair of End Child Poverty, said: "We’ve seen successive budgets come and go with token spending commitments for children and families. If austerity is really coming to an end, its high time the government puts its money where its mouth is, and makes a concrete financial commitment to the welfare of children.

"Things we once took for granted, like family support, children’s centres, and respite care for families with disabled children are now the privilege of the few. In some areas of the country, over half the children are growing up in poverty. For these children and the many others who need urgent help, the services, benefits and support that could provide a lifeline have been cut to the bone. We are failing our children if we don’t put them at the heart of government spending," she concluded.

The open letter is available here

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