Tag Archives: children

Observer: Britain “poised to open door” to refugee children

For months now, there have been repeated calls for the UK to take 3000 unaccompanied child refugees who have fled the Syrian conflict.

Tim Farron has been pressing the Government to do so, going as far as tabling a Bill in Parliament. Most of the opposition parties in Parliament and its International Development Committee are in favour.

Tomorrow’s Observer suggests that action may soon be forthcoming:

Amid growing expectation that an announcement is imminent, Downing Street said ministers were looking seriously at calls from charities, led by Save the Children, for the UK to admit at least 3,000 unaccompanied young people who have arrived in Europe from countries including Syria and Afghanistan, and who are judged to be at serious risk of falling prey to people traffickers. Government sources said such a humanitarian gesture would be in addition to the 20,000 refugees the UK has already agreed to accept, mainly from camps on the borders of Syria, by 2020.

Tim Farron isn’t counting any chickens until the announcement is made, saying tonight that he wants to see firm action:

I have repeatedly called for the UK to take in 3,000 unaccompanied refugee orphans and the government must now move from ‘looking’ at the issue to actually rolling out a plan to offer these youngsters a home.

Those who have made it to European shores now face cold winters, harsh conditions and are vulnerable to traffickers and those who want to exploit them. Every moment longer the Prime Minister takes to decide leaves a child alone, without protection and without a future.

We must open our hearts to those in need and I will keep pressing at this for as long as it takes. We can and must help.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 4 Comments

Opinion: In defence of the Scottish Government’s plan for named persons for every child

I am writing this article after becoming increasingly frustrated at the tone and level of debate with which many people in our party are subjecting the Scottish Children and Young People’s bill and in particular the provision for a “named person” for every child.

Many of you will be asking what a “named person” is. If you choose to listen to the Daily Mail, the Christian institute and an assortment of other hysterical social conservatives this represents the introduction of state sponsored guardians whose mission in life is to spy on families and enforce political correctness. However I choose not to listen to these groups. I choose to listen to the countless social workers, teachers, child protections professionals, youth workers and other professionals who are backing this legislation.

What this legislation actually does is provide for a single point of contact for every young person from the ages of zero to eighteen so if ever that young person requires support from services or a welfare issue is raised by professionals, these organisations are operating in tandem rather than working in isolation. This will operate in a similar manner as health visitors supporting mothers and infants. For the vast majority of young people the named person will be a midwife then a health visitor followed by their primary school headteacher and finally their secondary guidance teacher.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 14 Comments

Report shows how extensively this country fails vulnerable children

Yesterday the UK’s Children’s Commissioners published a joint report to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child. It makes very grim reading. If a child is poor, bullied, suffers mental ill health, gets involved with the criminal or immigration systems or suffers the effects of domestic violence, this country simply does not provide them with what they need. I seriously recommend that you read the whole thing because a few headlines from the press doesn’t quite give the flavour of the extent to which we should be ashamed of ourselves.

We can have all the arguments we like about austerity measures and to what extent they were necessary but this report provides an extensive list of the sorts of problems that we liberals should be putting all our energies into solving. Top of my list would be access to justice and reversing the cuts to legal aid that prevent children being properly represented in cases that affect them. Second would be mental health. The range of things that affect young people’s mental health is huge and we need to look at prevention as well as treatment when things do go wrong.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 8 Comments

Opinion: Politics? It’s child’s play

Toys debate politicsPity, poor Tristram Hunt. On the campaign trail the other day he made the classic mistake of asking a young child how he was going to vote.

Child: “UKIP”

Hunt: “Oh why is that then?

Child: “Because they’ll get all the foreigners out of the country”

To adapt the old adage: Never do politics with children and animals!

For a candidate kids are a minefield but as a parent I’ve been struck by how interested my kids (one pre- teen and one mid primary) have been in this their “first” General Election. They even staged their own election debate with toys which of course I enjoyed as much as they did!

There isn’t much help for parents attempting to introduce their kids to politics and political history.

Even really young American children have reading books about the Founding Fathers, Lincoln and the Roosevelts. Imagine the laughing stock a British parent would be if she went into a bookshop and asked for: “Gladstone and Disraeli for toddlers” or “Learn to read with the Tolpuddle Martyrs”

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 12 Comments

Martin Horwood MP writes…Reducing the negative impact of violence on international development

Every five minutes a child dies from violence.

This appalling statistic, released in a new report from Unicef UK today, shows that violence is not confined to an unlucky few or even to war zones. Across the world, millions of children bear the brunt of an epidemic of violence that is often hidden or ignored and that threatens their rights to a healthy, safe and fulfilling life.

Violence manifests itself in many forms. Unicef UK’s research reveals that more than 125 million women, most in early childhood or adolescence, have been subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM). In some regions, the child murder rate is shockingly high, especially for teenagers.  For example, an adolescent boy in Latin America is 70 times more likely to be murdered than in the UK.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 3 Comments

Annette Brooke MP writes… This Mothering Sunday let’s commit to making preventable newborn deaths a thing of the past

New BornLike many mothers and grandmothers in my constituency and around the UK, I’m looking forward to Mother’s Day on Sunday. Not just because it’s welcome time spent with the family, but also because it reminds me of the years of joy I’ve had watching my children and now my grand-daughter grow up.

It is however, a sad time for many in this country who have suffered bereavements. And we also think of the millions of mothers around the world who have not had the chance to watch their children grow …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 2 Comments

Jenny Willott writes… How Lib Dems are giving families choice through shared parental leave and flexible working

Parents and child - Some rights reserved by Ed YourtonAs a mother with two small children myself, I know how hard it can be to balance work and family life. And as a Lib Dem, I firmly believe in equal opportunities for all and tackling discrimination, whatever form it takes.

So I am really excited that with Lib Dems in Government, we are shaking up the status quo to make it easier for parents with young children to arrange their work/life balance however best suits them.

We need to challenge the old-fashioned …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 2 Comments

Recent Comments

  • User AvatarAllan Brame 24th Oct - 1:17pm
    @Caratacus "the Lib Dem vote in Witney in actual numbers 11,611, was not very dissimilar to the votes in 2010 (11,233) or 2005 (12,415)" True,...
  • User AvatarPaul Walter 24th Oct - 12:57pm
    Stevan "Then sell it like that, as a re-run of Departure with more detail, instead of pretending and convincing no-one that it’s a destination question....
  • User AvatarMartin 24th Oct - 12:56pm
    Call him what you like (John Peters says 'prat' - evidently oblivious to irony), Tim Farron is right. Apart from objective notification of a "rise...
  • User Avatarnvelope2003 24th Oct - 12:49pm
    Michael BG : I could not disagree more. In other Parliamentary by elections there have been poor results, even falls in the vote achieved in...
  • User AvatarMary Reid 24th Oct - 12:44pm
    That pumpkin is quite brilliant!
  • User AvatarRichard Underhill 24th Oct - 12:42pm
    Was there an exit poll in Witney? A subsequent analysis would be affected by subsequent news, including the result. A Tory teller in Witney told...