Unicef Report highlights growing inequality for children in the UK
In April, new research from Unicef showed the UK to be lagging behind other rich countries in reducing inequality in child-well-being. Innocenti Report Card 13, Fairness for Children: A league table of inequality in child well-being in rich countries, shows significant levels of inequality in income, health and education in comparison to 41 other EU and OECD countries.
In Education the UK ranked 25th out of 37 countries, behind Slovenia, Poland and Romania, in reading, maths and science. Health inequality was reflected in disparity in healthy behaviours between children with low and high socio economic status with large differences in levels of healthy eating and physical activity. The UK scored 19th out of 35 countries measured for children self-reporting health problems. The UK also performed poorly in levels of life satisfaction scoring 25th out of 35 countries.
The UK appears to perform well in terms of income inequality, sitting seventh overall in countries surveyed. However, the report highlights that this is heavily linked to social transfers, such as working tax credits, which nearly halve the relative income gap. Without such social transfers it is estimated that the gap would be one of the highest in Europe.
CRAE’s See it, Say it, Change it report from children in England to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child highlights the impact of income inequality on children. The report focuses on links between income and housing, access to basic resources including food and clothing, and discrimination against children from poorer backgrounds. A 17 year-old girl told us ‘Coming from a deprived area in London and growing up in poverty, I feel I am not treated with respect and equality’. Children told us that they struggled to meet costs associated with education like school uniform and that they were sometimes dependent on food banks for survival. A seven year-old girl told us ‘We need most money for food’.
Lily Caprani, Unicef UKs Deputy Executive Director, said ‘Taking children’s rights seriously means acting with urgency to ensure no child is left behind’.
You can read the Report Card here
You can read CRAE’s See it, Say it, Change it report here