Equal life chances for children

We need to give each child the same life chances, wherever in the country they grow up and whatever resources their family has. We focus on three priorities. We must finally end child poverty. We also need to improve educational standards and early-years provision. And we must ensure that every child grows up in a healthy and sustainable environment.

The first priority is to design out bad luck at birth as far as possible, so that every child is born with the same life chances. Every child should have the same opportunities to realise their full potential, regardless of the circumstances into which they are born. We believe that there are three priorities when it comes to providing the ‘fair necessities’ for children: ending child poverty once and for all, providing high-quality universal education that starts in the early years, and ensuring that there is a sustainable environment in which children can grow and thrive. This agenda cuts across all ten of the issues above, but with a particular focus on five: housing, social security, work, education and the environment.

Firstly, we must end child poverty:

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Housing

Building more social housing and improving conditions for private renters, so as to reduce the high costs of housing and to stop poorer children having to move house and school regularly

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Social security

Providing more generous financial support to parents and expectant parents, to ensure that all families (including those with more than two children) are lifted out of poverty

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Work

Tackling insecure, exploitative and poorly paid work and providing more parental leave, so that all parents have the financial stability and time to focus on their children’s early development

Secondly, we must provide high-equality universal education, starting in the early years. Some children are almost a year behind their peers when they start school (and these gaps continue to widen as they grow older). Early years education and childcare needs to be available to every parent, whatever their income or employment status and wherever they live in the country; it needs to be affordable and to meet the educational and developmental needs of children while being sufficiently flexible for working parents. Meanwhile, we need to provide more targeted support and funding for disadvantaged students in full-time education, so that those who grew up in poverty have the best chance to fulfil their potential.

Thirdly, we must provide a sustainable environment. An urgent priority is to tackle the damage done by air pollution, especially to children living in deprived areas. We also need a fair and rapid transition to a zero-carbon economy to mitigate the worst impacts of the climate and biodiversity crises.