Spring Budget 2024: A Missed Opportunity?

Will Kerridge

Will Kerridge

Political Engagement & Policy Officer

Today, as the Chancellor delivers the spring budget, we at Drive Forward Foundation urge the government to invest in the future of our most vulnerable young people. Care-experienced young people face significant barriers amid the cost-of-living crisis. With close to 40% of them being not in employment, training, or education, it’s clear more needs to be done to enable them to build meaningful lives for themselves. Our teams are working hard to ensure all young people leaving care have the opportunities they deserve.

Childcare

We appreciate the government is looking to enable more parents to go back to work sooner with the extended childcare offer. Many care-experienced adults do not have the ability to access free childcare from family members and rely on childcare provision to be able to re-enter employment. However, the sector has already raised alarm bells, stating they do not have the resources needed to deliver the planned expansion due to rising costs, shortages of qualified staff and years of underfunding. Drive Forward is calling on the government to prioritise childcare provision for care-experienced parents, supporting them to re-enter the workforce and obtain financial stability.

Housing

Following the Chancellor’s Spring Budget, we welcome the government’s commitment to tackling profiteering and creating a more sustainable market for children’s residential placements. Placement moves disrupt children in care’s educational outcomes and have a knock-on effect on adult learning and employment. It is crucial to remember that secure housing is the foundation upon which care-experienced young people can build their lives. While cost reduction is important, we urge the government to prioritise the provision of safe, affordable, and permanent housing solutions for care leavers. Secure housing for children in care and care leavers will not only ensure their well-being but also empower them to participate fully in society, including entering the workforce and contributing to the economy.

Continuing the Household Support Fund

The continuation of the UK government’s Household Support Fund is vital to support care-experienced people facing the rising cost of living, as it allows local authorities to provide them with targeted assistance for essentials like food and energy bills. Charities and local authorities have ramped up their calls for the fund to be extended since the Autumn budget in 2023 where it was not mentioned at all. Today’s Budget provided an opportunity to tackle the structural issues underpinning the cost-of-living crisis care-experienced young people are experiencing acutely. Instead, tax cuts, including a cut to national insurance will largely benefit the highest earners and likely be paid for with further cuts to public services.

Spring Budget 2024: A Missed Opportunity?

“In today’s Spring Budget, we urge investing in vulnerable care-experienced youth, ensuring they have the opportunities they deserve. With nearly 40% facing unemployment, training, or education barriers, it’s clear more needs to be done. Join us as we advocate for their empowerment and support, striving to create positive change in their lives through targeted campaigns and initiatives

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