I share your concerns regarding the findings of the report and its statistics on childhood happiness. Figure 17 of the report suggests that the most common disadvantages that children suffer are fears about crime, parental finance difficulties, and parental mental health issues.
On the issue of household finances, the Government has a record to be proud of, lifting four million of the lowest paid out of tax by raising the personal tax allowance and introducing a National Living Wage. While progress has been made, more must be done. I welcome the draft bill, published by the Government earlier this month, which would cap energy prices for millions of families.
I agree that it is important to tackle the root causes of unhappiness in children early on, rather than belatedly intervening. That’s why a record £1 billion of funding has been committed to mental health between now and 2020/21, helping both parents and children with their mental health difficulties.
Much of this mental health support is being tailored specifically towards children, especially in regard to bullying, which was outlined as a key problem in Chapter Two of the Good Childhood report. This includes a £3 million programme to tackle LGBT bullying in schools, as well as the PSHE Association project to create lesson plans for teachers on issues relating to mental health, seven of which were published in September.
By cracking down on crime, helping those households struggling with their finances, and investing massively in mental health, I’m certain we will be a step closer to ensuring that every child has the happy childhood that they deserve.