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Leading children’s rights organisations: ‘This was a Prime Minister and a government who did not adequately consider children’s rights and wellbeing during the pandemic’

7 December 2023, LONDON - Today Boris Johnson told the inquiry he “absolutely” thought children disproportionately suffered from the government’s covid interventions, “particularly kids on the lowest incomes”.

When asked about the government interventions on schools and lockdowns, he told the Inquiry: “I am not certain in the future we would want to do it in that way”, and that he wished more funding had been provided to help children catch up with learning after the lockdowns.

Rajiv Menon KC, representing Save the Children UK, Just for Kids Law and the Children’s Rights Alliance for England who are core participants in the Covid-19 Inquiry, questioned the former Prime Minister at today’s session.

Speaking on behalf of the leading children’s rights organisations, Louise King, Director of Children’s Rights Alliance for England said:

“Once again in this Inquiry, a key government figure is unable to stand by the decisions they made when it came to children. We can only conclude that this was a Prime Minister and a government who did not spend adequate time considering children’s rights and wellbeing. Only one in 10 vulnerable children entitled to go to school during lockdown did so, and the evidence revealed by the Inquiry is overwhelming that decision-makers didn’t properly consider the impact on children caused by their decisions.

“The impact of this lack of thought into how decisions during the pandemic would affect children and young people will stay with them forever. Lessons must be learned for the future while the events are still fresh in our minds. And crucially, children need support now to deal with the consequences of decisions made during covid-19 – the years of lost learning, lost freedoms and lost hope.

“The Covid Inquiry must scrutinise why the UK Government failed to adequately consider children’s rights when making decisions during the pandemic given the harm this caused and make clear recommendations to ensure that children are placed at the heart of government policy-making processes.”