Over 140 charities call for political leaders to ‘put children at heart of election’

More than 140 children’s organisations are calling on political leaders to reveal how they will tackle youth violence, domestic abuse, as well as mental health and poverty.

Campaigners say such social problems can leave millions of children “scarred for life”.

In an open letter to all political parties ahead of the next TV election debate, organisations including the National Children’s Bureau, the NSPCC, Barnardo’s, Action For Children and The Children’s Society, say youngsters are being “crowded out” of the discussion on the nation’s future, leaving their needs overlooked and their voices unheard.

It urges leaders to put children at the heart of the election and take action to prioritise combating problems they face when the next government takes office.

The letter says: “There are almost 14 million children in the UK but their voices are missing from the national conversation and far too little attention has been paid to their needs, particularly those of the most vulnerable.

“Instead, the debate on Brexit means the issues affecting children are being crowded out of the national debate.

“We are asking each of you to put children at the heart of this election.”

There are nearly 14 million children living in the UK, of whom over four million live in poverty. A child is taken into care every 15 minutes and one in eight of five to 19-year-olds have at least one mental health condition, according to the charities.

They say services vulnerable children rely on are facing a funding crisis as the number needing help continues to rise.

The Children’s Commissioner for England estimates £10 billion of investment would be needed to turn the situation around.

The letter is combined with an online campaign where young people are encouraged to tweet using the hashtag #IfIWerePM to share their priorities if they were in government.

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