UK fails its kids

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Stella, Feb 13, 2007.

  1. Stella macrumors G3


    Apr 21, 2003
    Reading "have your say" on a frequent basis, I'm not surprised... Britain hates children, and resends the parents.

    Shame to see Canada way down on the list though ( and surprised to see the u.s just one above the UK )


    The UK has been accused of failing its children, as it comes bottom of a league table for child well-being across 21 industrial countries.
    The Unicef report looked at 40 indicators including poverty, peer and family relationships and health.

    The Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark and Finland head the list.

    Children's charities have condemned the findings. The government says it has made progress on child well-being through several initiatives.

    Unicef - the United Nations' children's organisation - says the report, titled Child Poverty in Perspective: An Overview of Child Well-being in Rich Countries, is the first study of childhood across the world's industrialised nations.

    Not enough parental time is spent in bringing up our children
    John Nicholls, Altrincham

    Send us your comments

    Unicef UK executive director David Bull said all the countries had weaknesses that needed to be addressed.

    "By comparing the performance of countries we see what is possible with a commitment to supporting every child to fulfil his or her full potential," he said.


    The UK was in the bottom third for five out of the six categories. It was placed in the middle third of the table for health and safety.

    A spokesman for the UK government said its initiatives in areas such as poverty, pregnancy rates, teenage smoking, drinking and risky sexual behaviour had helped improve children's welfare.

    We simply cannot ignore these shocking findings
    Bob Reitemeier
    Children's Society

    Reaction in quotes

    Welfare Reform Minister Jim Murphy said the Unicef study was an "historic" report, which used some data which was now out of date.

    "It looks at some information and analysis from perhaps six, seven, eight years ago," he told the BBC's Newsnight. "Some of the information really is out of date in that sense.

    "If you look at the teenage pregnancies issue, for example, we're now 20 years low on teenage pregnancy levels, and on homelessness as well there's been real progress there as well - a 25-year low in terms of new homelessness, so there's an awful lot we have achieved."

    1. Netherlands
    2. Sweden
    3. Denmark
    4. Finland
    5. Spain
    6. Switzerland
    7. Norway
    8. Italy
    9. Republic of Ireland
    10. Belgium
    11. Germany
    12. Canada
    13. Greece
    14. Poland
    15. Czech Republic
    16. France
    17. Portugal
    18. Austria
    19. Hungary
    20. United States
    21. United Kingdom
    Source: Unicef

    Key points at-a-glance

    But he acknowledged the Unicef report was important. "Hopefully it leads to a wider conversation about what more we can do to eradicate poverty," he said.

    The Children's Society has launched a website to coincide with the report,, which allows children to answer a series of surveys about their lives.

    The society's chief executive Bob Reitemeier said: "We simply cannot ignore these shocking findings.

    "Unicef's report is a wake-up call to the fact that, despite being a rich country, the UK is failing children and young people in a number of crucial ways."

    The Children's Commissioner for England, Professor Sir Al Aynsley-Green, said he was not surprised by the report's findings.

    "It's very much in line with what children and young people are telling me about their lives today, and I think the shocking conclusion is that as a nation we have been failing our children and young people."

    'Failed generation'

    Colette Marshall, UK director of Save the Children, said it was "shameful" to see the UK at the bottom of the table.

    Material well-being
    Family and peer relationships
    Health and safety
    Behaviour and risks
    Own sense of well-being [educational]
    Own sense of well-being [subjective]

    Unicef report in full (1.5MB)
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    Download the reader here

    "This report shows clearly that despite the UK's wealth, we are failing to give children the best possible start in life," she said.

    "The UK government is not investing enough in the well-being of children, especially to combat poverty and deprivation."

    Shadow Chancellor George Osborne accused Chancellor Gordon Brown of having "failed this generation of children".

    "After 10 years of his welfare and education policies, our children today have the lowest well-being in the developed world," said Mr Osborne.

    UK child poverty has doubled since 1979
    Children living in homes earning less than half national average wage - 16%
    Children rating their peers as "kind and helpful" - 43%
    Families eating a meal together "several times" a week - 66%
    Children who admit being drunk on two or more occasions - 31%

    He also said government could encourage parents to have greater involvement with their children through "a framework of more flexible working".

    But he added: "I don't actually think government has the answer to all these problems.

    "This is not all about politicians in Westminster passing laws, it's about social responsibility, it's about parents taking greater responsibility for their children, it's about trusting teachers in classrooms, it's about us as neighbours in a society playing our part as well."

    A spokeswoman for the government said it regarded the improvement of the life of British children as a matter of particular importance.

    "Nobody can dispute that improving children's well-being is a real priority for this government," she said.
  2. furious macrumors 65816


    Aug 7, 2006
    ha! Australia is not even on the rankings. What does that tell you about our politicians.
  3. Danksi macrumors 68000


    Oct 3, 2005
    Nelson, BC. Canada
    We were getting fed up with the constant 'anti-parent' & 'anti-kids' vibe in the UK 3-4 years ago. It was one of the key reasons I agreed to move to Canada with my wife.

    Canada may be a ways down on that list, but frankly my kids are better off here, we're better off here...
  4. gauchogolfer macrumors 603


    Jan 28, 2005
    American Riviera
    You've probably noticed by now, but there is already a thread about this.


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