Ella’s Kitchen calls on political parties to put future generations at the heart of government policy
- 19th September 2023 -
Leading kids’ food brand calls for bold action and a radical rethink on early years policy
- 'Five for the under-fives’ urges political parties to adopt 5 Asks within manifestos ahead of the next General Election
- The Five policy asks are designed to help address health, social and environmental challenges impacting the under 5s
- With policies supported by Action for Children and the RSPB, the five-point manifesto is to be handed to key politicians from all political parties by little ones at Westminster today.
Leading kid’s food brand Ella’s Kitchen is calling on UK political parties to radically rethink how they prioritise the early years ahead of the next General Election.
The ‘5 for the under-5s’ manifesto, which contains policies supported by charities Action for Children and RSPB, challenges political parties to adopt five bold commitments, underpinned by ambitious but achievable policies, all designed to shift policy on early years from short-term fixes to long-term solutions.
Developed with input from charities, academic experts, and children under the age of five, the policy paper seeks to address some of the biggest challenges facing children now, while suggesting solutions to help prevent problems of the future.
Specific policy recommendations include: the creation of an Early Years Commission within the first 100 days of being in government; the abolition of the two-child benefit cap to lift a quarter of a million little ones out of poverty; and the recognition of access to nature as a human right.
The manifesto’s five headline asks are for political parties to:
- Put future generations at the heart of government policy, by setting up an Early Years Commission to advise on legislation to help protect children’s futures, including through the adoption of a Future Generation’s Act.
- Double fruit and vegetable intake for the under-fives by 2030, by raising the value of Healthy Start vouchers; and increasing funding and guidance for early years food education.
- End child poverty by 2040, by ending the two-child limit in the benefit system and committing to a cross-party Child Poverty Action Plan.
- Create connections with nature, by recognising access to nature as a human right and prioritising nature connection in early years education.
- Safeguard the planet and our food supply, by adopting policies to help restore and rewild our natural environment, reduce harmful pesticide use and protect our pollinators.
With 4.2 million children living in poverty; 14% of children in England starting school living with obesity, only 18% of children eating the recommended five portions of fruit and veg a day; and with the impacts of the biodiversity and climate crises already affecting the lives of children across the UK, the manifesto argues that successive governments have failed to prioritise the early years and adopt policies that safeguard children’s futures. This is despite the early years being the most pivotal period for childhood development, where long-term behaviours, habits and health outcomes are formed.
It therefore calls on political parties across the UK to shift beyond short-term policies and move to a joined up, cross party, approach that prioritises the early years. This shift in thinking will help solve systemic problems including child poverty, food insecurity, health inequalities and more, while preventing new problems from arising and helping to set children up for success.
The campaign will be officially launched this morning as a group of children gather outside the Houses of Parliament, with representatives from all major political parties invited to receive the policy paper and learn more about the proposals.
“When it comes to the climate + biodiversity crisis the science is clear, and we are the first generation of leaders who can't say we didn't know. When I think about the future of my own children, I am compelled to act. We are calling on the next government to take bold action and demonstrate bold leadership to safeguard the futures of this nation’s most precious assets - our children”.
CEO of Ella’s Kitchen
“Poverty diminishes the lives and life chances of children, and at Action for Children we see the impact of it every day in our services. The cost of living crisis has seen more and more families struggling to meet even the most basic need. A cross government action plan on child poverty is long overdue, and ending the two-child limit should be top of the agenda. This is a policy that stops children from receiving even the most basic level of support to meet their minimum needs, and any government serious about tackling child poverty must confront it head on.”
Director of Policy and Campaigns at Action for Children
“A growing body of evidence shows that people with a greater connection to nature experience improved mental wellbeing, greater vitality and happiness, so protecting and restoring spaces for both nature and people is essential.
“In the UK our most important places for wildlife are becoming more and more scarce – for example, we’ve lost 97% of our precious wildflower meadows in the last century. In the face of the dual nature and climate crises, now more than ever nature needs young people and young people need nature.”
Director of Global Conservation, the RSPB
“I want to grow up on a rainbow planet where everyone is kind and happy. I think grown ups should share more because it’s kind."
aged 4 and 3/4
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