Arthur Labinjo-Hughes

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:32 pm on 6th December 2021.

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Photo of John Martin McDonnell John Martin McDonnell Labour, Hayes and Harlington 4:32 pm, 6th December 2021

Unfortunately, we are too good at setting up reviews and blaming others. This House needs to take some responsibility. In March 2018, my hon. Friend Andrew Gwynne published a report with me, based on consultation with children’s charities, local government and social work professionals. It said that, after £2 billion-worth of cuts, children were at risk and could not be protected. We put forward proposals for the Budget that year, in the following year and in the following year.

We have seen a 40% cut in early interventions on children. We all get emotional about this—I was on childcare for 15 years and dealt with children who had been abused, and I never, ever want to see it again. I do not doubt the Secretary of State’s sincerity—we have worked with him and in most cases he has done a good job where he has been—so this is a message through him to the Chancellor: we need an emergency funding package for children’s services now. We cannot wait months for another review. Social workers are overworked and, actually, underpaid and disrespected. We need them to be properly funded and supported.