Home-Start UK chief executive, Peter Grigg, has written to Minister of State for Schools and Childhood, Kelly Tolhurst, to call for action to support children and their families.

The cost of living is having a huge impact on families across the UK, with Home-Starts consistently reporting higher levels of referrals of families with young children needing our support. Many are seeing more than double the normal expected demand for their services. They are also reporting a higher proportion of families with a greater complexity of need and significant anxiety about their finances.

We know this has the potential for long-lasting impact on parents and their children and we need action now.

In his letter to the Minister, Peter asked the government to help families in three key ways:

  1. There must be an urgent and clear commitment that universal credit, child benefit and other welfare support relied on by families will increase by at least the level of inflation to protect families from rising costs. Failure to deliver this will have a devastating impact on families.
  2. The poorest families need urgent financial help now to weather the storm. Increasing support through Universal Credit and Healthy Start Vouchers could provide an extra £1,200 a year for parents of children under one to spend on giving their child the very best start in life.
  3. Many charities working in communities to support so many groups of people are deeply concerned about their ability to remain doing so with pressures on budgets, funding and the volunteer base so many rely upon. Charities working with families and children need your support to ensure that they can continue delivering services to families throughout this period.

Home-Start UK also offered to meet with the new minister to share our insights and help ensure children have the best start in life through these difficult times.