MPs and Peers back our No Child Born to Die campaign
It’s been an exciting week in politics, with the resignations of shadow chancellor Alan Johnson and the government’s communications chief Andy Coulson, while Tony Blair gave his final evidence to the Chilcot Inquiry.
But the really big political story was, of course, the launch of Save the Children’s parliamentary champions scheme.
We’re working with a group of supportive MPs and peers – our parliamentary champions – to build political support for our vision of dramatic change for children in the UK and around the world.
We launched the champions programme in an event entitled ‘What does the year ahead hold for children in poverty at home and abroad?’.
Phil Collins of The Times chaired the event, and opened proceedings by sharing his views on what the political year will hold.
Then our CEO, Justin Forsyth, gave a sneak preview of Save the Children’s new campaign No child born to die, officially launching today – 24 January.
Anne Begg MP, Graham Stuart MP, and Malcolm Bruce MP, chairs of the Work and Pensions, Education and International Development Select Committees respectively, led discussion on what the year ahead will hold for children in their areas of specialty.
Justin Forsyth set the scene for Save the Children’s 2011 planned activities by looking at the plight of the 3.9 million children living in poverty in our country and issuing our UK campaign call that ‘No child is born without a chance’.
Justin explained that while Save the Children welcomes the government’s intention to introduce new ways to measure children’s life chances, it’s essential that family income is retained as the central measure of child poverty in the UK.
We are looking to the critical opportunities of the government’s first child poverty strategy and the Budget, both in March of this year, to see evidence of the government’s commitment to tackle child poverty and to ensure that ‘work pays’ for poor families.
Justin went on to discuss the plight of children in countries worse off than the UK. The coalition government’s pledge to increase the aid budget to 0.7% while other departments’ budgets are being cut is very welcome.
However, Justin said, despite recent advances, 8 million children still die before their fifth birthday every year, and the Millennium Development Goals on maternal and child mortality are two of the most off-track.
Our campaign ‘No child born to die’ aims to close the gaps in immunisation provision, healthcare workers and finance that prevent children in the world’s poorest countries gaining access to the healthcare they need.
The hope is that politicians will work together with Save the Children and our partners to save 15 million children’s lives by 2015.
Many of the politicians at the launch pledged their support for the campaign.
As the campaign, and 2011, progress we hope to get more and more MPs, peers and other decision-makers to work with us to achieve radical change for children, wherever they are.