Families are under extreme pressure. The rising cost of living over the past year has caused families to be under increased pressure, and recent reports have shown that this is having a detrimental impact on children’s development.

A study from the Academy of Medical Science shows that the standard of infant health is declining, and the estimated cost of issues that could have been avoided through action in early childhood could be £16.13 billion a year.

The chancellor must do two things with his budget this week – ease the pressures for the most vulnerable families and protect the services that families rely on to support their children’s development.

Ahead of the 2024 Spring Budget statement, Home-Start UK joined the call from the First 1001 Days Movement for the Chancellor to provide certainty over the future of the government’s Start for Life programme.

Under Start for Life, half of local authorities in England have received funding to set up a Family Hub.  The First 1001 Days Movement is calling on the Chancellor to provide funding for the remaining local authorities, so that they too can create a Family Hub where parents and carers can access support.

But further to this, the government must protect services that all families rely on to give their children the best start in life and to support their development. It means creating a sustainable funding solution for local government to ensure local authorities have the money they need to not only run children’s services but also keep libraries and parks open. The news that the Household Support Fund will end has already caused distress over the impact this will have on families.

It is only through ensuring more families can access relational, compassionate support at the earliest moment​ that no parent or family will feel alone in the critical task of raising children.​

Removing the two-child benefit cap is a step toward a fairer society. This cap disproportionately affects low-income families and places a further burden on those already facing financial hardships. Removing the cap will help to ensure equal support for all children, regardless of birth order or family circumstances.

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