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Railway Children responds to the Autumn Statement

The Autumn Statement (Nov 22, 2023) is a step in the right direction to help ease some of the financial pressure on struggling families but it was also a missed opportunity to change the situation for the UK's most vulnerable children and young people.

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Railway Children’s Group Chief Executive Officer, Rob Capener, said:

"We are pleased by the Chancellor’s decision to increase benefits in line with inflation, unfreeze the housing allowance and raise the national living wage, all of which will go some way to support families with soaring costs and prevent them from falling into destitution.

However, while this financial support is helpful, we are concerned that it is not enough to sustainably improve the lives of those who are suffering the most. At a time when there are alarmingly high rates of child poverty and mental health issues among young people, the government’s statement was a missed opportunity to address this growing crisis and put forward a long-term strategy to tackle it.

We are disappointed that there was no mention of increasing funding for children’s social care. This is particularly worrying in the current context where the number of children in need of support from local authorities is at its highest level since the pandemic. 

It is also concerning to hear the government’s plans to introduce stricter sanctions for those unable to work, which will likely place greater strain on families who are already struggling. 

The government must show greater commitment to address these real issues to protect vulnerable children and young people from hardship. We will continue to work to ensure they receive the support they deserve and won’t stop until their needs are prioritised."