Life chances strategy shelved after Brexit vote

By Neil Puffett

| 27 June 2016

Government plans to transform the life chances of the poorest in the country have been placed on hold in the wake of the result of the EU referendum.

The government's life chances strategy had been scheduled for publication last Friday. Picture: Department for Education

CYP Now understands that the government was planning to unveil its life chances strategy on Friday (24 June), but the launch was cancelled after the electorate voted in favour of the UK leaving the European Union, a result that prompted Prime Minister David Cameron to announce that he will stand down by October.

A senior figure in the children and young people's sector confirmed that the strategy had been scheduled for publication on Friday.

The source added that the result of the referendum vote and the prospect of a new Prime Minister could "put on hold or change the direction of Cameron and Nicky Morgan's agenda on children's services reform, adoption, and reforms for children in care".

Dan Corry, chief executive of think-tank New Philanthropy Capital, said the Brexit vote has triggered "a period of uncertainty" for charities within the children and young people's sector.

"The government will now be tied up for months negotiating what happens next, sucking time and energy away from making sure charities are in the best position to make a social impact," he said.

"With news that the Prime Minister is stepping aside, his life chances agenda, in which charities have been promised a central role, will be one thing that loses out."

The life chances strategy first announced by David Cameron in January, was initially intended for publication in the spring.

It was due to feature measures designed to address child poverty, including a plan to significantly expand parenting provision, and potentially introduce a voucher scheme for parenting classes.

The government also said the strategy would contain future policy on children's centres.

Writing in the Guardian, Julia Unwin, chief executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said her greatest fear is that Brexit negotiations, financial turmoil and the contest to succeed David Cameron will mean that "poverty risks being put on the back burner".

"We had expected a life chances strategy from the government in July, and it is precisely these important social justice reforms that we cannot afford to abandon as well as a relentless focus on jobs and investment."

A Department for Education spokesman said: "Departmental business continues as normal. We will provide further detail on forthcoming announcements in due course."

blog comments powered by Disqus