A coalition of children’s charities challenged London’s mayoral
candidates last week to show their commitment to child welfare and
protection ahead of this week’s elections.
The 35 charities, led by Barnardo’s, Childline, NCH, NSPCC and the
Children’s Society, said none of the mayoral candidates had
addressed children’s welfare in their manifestos.
While they hailed the “significant progress” of the Greater London
Authority’s recent children and young people’s strategy, the
coalition said that more could be done.
“One of the biggest barriers facing the future of children and
young people in London is the high cost of child care and
transport, which must be addressed by the candidates,” said
coalition spokesperson Delroy Pornell.
The charities’ manifesto also calls for more commitment to the
protection of disabled children, a more strategic approach to the
trafficking of children for exploitation, and better provision of
child and adolescent mental health services.
Local authority candidates across the country, meanwhile, came
under pressure from homelessness charities to commit to measures
including helping homeless people to access their right to vote,
supporting the work of day centres for homeless people, and
supporting and treating drug misusers.
Homeless Link, the organisation for homelessness charities which
co-ordinated the campaign, also called on local authority
candidates to commit to bringing together service providers and
commissioners to highlight the needs of older homeless people, and
to work more closely with the voluntary sector.
In its own manifesto, due to be sent out to local authorities as
soon as ballot papers were counted, the National Council of
Voluntary Organisations echoes these calls for local authorities to
recognise the contribution of the voluntary sector and to work with
it to achieve more inclusive policy-making.
Easier to vote?
The Electoral Commission has made it easier for disabled people to
vote in this week’s elections.
People with physical disabilities were entitled to apply for postal
or proxy voting for the European, local, London mayoral and London
assembly elections on 10 June.
The commission also issued guidance to polling stations on
providing low level polling booths and ballot boxes, level
entrances, temporary ramps and car parking for disabled people.
Tactile templates and large print ballot papers were also
available, it said.
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