Charities deride mayoral candidates over lack of child welfare policies

    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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