A new report has been published outlining the stark picture of inequality for children growing up in the North of England post-pandemic compared to those in the rest of the country.
Co-lead author of the report David Taylor Robinson, Professor of Public Health and Policy at the University of Liverpool is a representative on the Cheshire and Merseyside Marmot Advisory Board.
The report ‘The Child of the North: Building a fairer future after COVID-19’ produced by the Northern Health Science Alliance (NHSA) and N8 Research Partnership (N8), and written by over 40 leading academics from across the North of England looks at a wide range of factors, from child poverty to children in care.
It sets out 18 clear recommendations that can be put in place to tackle the widening gap between the North and the rest of England.
It shows that:
- Children in the North of England’s loss of learning, experienced over the course of the pandemic, will cost an estimated £24.6 billion in lost wages over lifetime earnings.
- Children in the North are more likely to be obese than a child elsewhere in England. At Year 6 (age 11): 6% in the North compared to 20.5% in the rest of England.
- Children in the North have a 27% chance of living in poverty compared to 20% in the rest of England.
- They have a 58% chance of living in a local authority with above average levels of low-income families, compared to 19% in the rest of England.
- Compared to children in England as a whole, they are more likely to die under the age of one.
- They missed more schooling in lockdown than their peers elsewhere in England. Only 14% received four or more pieces of offline schoolwork per day, compared with 20% country-wide.
- The mental health conditions that children in the North developed during the pandemic could cost an estimated £13.2 billion in lost wages over their working lives.
- Children in the North are significantly more likely to be in care than those in the rest of England. Of the local authorities with more than 100 children per 10,000 in care, 21 of 26 are in the North.
- Pupils in the North East and Yorkshire and Humber lost 4-5 times more learning in primary maths compared to areas in the South (4.0 and 5.3 months’ learning loss respectively, compared to less than a month in the South West and London).
- During the pandemic children in the North were lonelier than children in the rest of England. 23% of parents in the North reported that their child was ‘often’ lonely compared to 15% in the rest of the country.
- Their parents and carers were also more likely to have often been lonely during the first lockdown: 23% in the North compared to 13% in the rest of England.
- Prior to the pandemic, the North saw much larger cuts to spending on Sure Start children’s centres. On average, spending was cut by £412 per eligible child in the North, compared to only £283 in the rest of England.
- More than one in five children in the North are from an ethnic minority. These children are more likely to live in a deprived area than children from an ethnic minority in the rest of England.
Professor of Public Health and Policy at the University of Liverpool and co-lead author of the report David Taylor Robinson said:
“Children growing up in the North of England get a bad deal. Due to poverty and lack of investment, their outcomes are worse across the board – from risk of death in childhood, to obesity, mental health, and education, and the pandemic has made the situation worse. The stark inequalities exposed in our report are preventable and unfair. Levelling up must begin with better policies for children.”
The full report can be accessed here.