UK lies low in European child well-being league table

The UK has been ranked 24th for children’s well-being in a study of 29 European countries, below states such as Poland, Slovakia and Estonia.

Research carried out by the University of York and published by the Child Poverty Action Group suggests the Netherlands, Sweden and Norway are the best three countries in Europe in which to grow up.

The well-being of children was measured across seven areas: health, education, housing, material resources, relationships, risk, and how young people feel about their lives.

UK child poverty highlighted

The UK’s worst performance came in material resources, where it was ranked 24th out of a table of 26, above only Lithuania and Poland. This was due to the high number of families where no parent works, according to the report.

The data was mostly drawn from 2006, meaning that the impact of many government initiatives over the past three years is not reflected. Therefore, the report says the findings should be seen as “a criticism of UK society…not necessarily of recent social policy”.

“France has a similar GDP as the UK, yet ranks nine places higher,” it says.

Call for more funding

CPAG chief executive Kate Green said the findings underlined the importance of tackling child poverty.

“The report shows a clear link between high levels of child well-being and low levels of child poverty. If we fail to protect families during the downturn, progress on child well-being could go into reverse.”

Green reiterated CPAG’s demands to the government ahead of the budget tomorrow for a £3bn investment in benefits and tax credits, to ensure the 2010 child poverty target is met.

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