Lords debate UK child development today

Peers including the vice president of Barnardo’s and a former primary school headteacher debated child development in the UK and its bearing on national wellbeing earlier today.

The Lord Bishop of Chester, who tabled the debate and therefore spoke first, said:

“The importance of children for the overall health of society has been a recurring theme in political debate in recent years. And the response of throwing money at the problems our children face is no longer a limitless option, given the current financial crisis. However, I believe that it is not so much a lack of money as the widespread problem of the neglect of children in our society that needs addressing.

“It is the role of parents which needs strengthening and the support of wider society, so they can provide stable, loving, secure and safe environments for our children to thrive. Parenting should not be taken over by the state, but we must all recognise the role we have to play in collectively raising healthy, happy children, who will reflect on the nation’s wellbeing as a whole. I look forward to the wide debate around the many and varied contributing factors in this issue and to hearing about the Government’s current thinking in this area.”

Other peers to take part included: Baroness Benjamin (Liberal Democrat), Vice President of Barnardo’s and perhaps better known as Floella Benjamin from “Play School”;  Lord Storey (Liberal Democrat), former primary school headteacher and former leader of Liverpool City Council; Lord Sacks (Crossbench), the Chief Rabbi; Lord Mackay of Clashfern (Conservative); and Baroness Worthington (Labour).

Baroness Garden of Frognall (Liberal Democrat) responded to the debate on behalf of the government.