10/05/21 – Labour Appoints a Shadow Secretary of State for Child Poverty – Helen Clark Writes


By Helen Clark: Lead Author

In 2014, the newly formed APPG on A Fit and Healthy Childhood published its first Report ‘Healthy Patterns for Healthy Families’.

It received some excellent national, professional sector and academic media publicity for its discussion of ways in which to combat the newly acknowledged scourge of child obesity. The APPG  also chalked up another milestone; becoming the first ever body to issue a published call for the Government to appoint a Cabinet Minister for Children.

Since then, the APPG has been supported in this demand by just about every other organisation in the country established to promote the wellbeing of children and families; also by prominent cross-party parliamentarians in both Houses, and the past and present Children’s Commissioner for England. An energetic national campaign run by the Children First Alliance centred on the call for a Cabinet Minister featuring parliamentary activity and a national petition that continues to attract many new signatures.

So far there has been no suggestion that the present Government is currently receptive to the idea, but yesterday, the Labour Leader of the Opposition, Sir Keir Starmer, announced the establishment of a new post:

Shadow Secretary of State for Child Poverty

This is a tremendous advance for the campaign!

Many heartfelt thanks to everyone who has campaigned with such dedication to make the case that children’s needs must be placed firmly at the heart of government. We welcome Wes Streeting to his new role as Shadow Secretary of State for Child Poverty and hope that he will make it a priority to meet our APPG.

This brilliant first step indicates that the Opposition ‘gets’ the message!

We will now redouble our efforts to convince the present Conservative Government that ‘building back better’ means establishing a Cabinet Minister for Children with immediate effect!  

Join us and spread the word!