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'Striking to hear the UK Government did not understand the impact the pandemic had on families'

OCTOBER 31, LONDON – The UK Government did not understand the impact the pandemic had on families when making key decisions, the Covid-19 Inquiry heard today.  

Former No.10 Communications Director Lee Cain admitted at the inquiry that there should have been more diversity reflected in decision making and there was “a lack of understanding of what families were potentially going through at that time”.  Cain added he could not recall requests for children's press conferences despite former Children’s Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, consistently asking then Prime Minister Boris Johnson and other Cabinet Ministers to hold a press conference "especially for children".

Save the Children UK, Just for Kids Law and the Children’s Rights Alliance for England are core participants in the Covid-19 Inquiry and submitted witness statements in Module 2 earlier this month, which explores decision making and political governance of the pandemic.    

Speaking on behalf of the leading children’s rights organisations, Dan Paskins, director of UK impact at Save the Children, said: “It is striking to hear Lee Cain admit today that the UK government did not understand the impact of COVID-19 on families.

“It has been clear to us for some time that decisions to impose such strict rules on children in England were not evidence based, and we did not have the right structures and systems in place to make good decisions.  That’s why we’ve made clear recommendations so that next time there is a crisis, politicians can make better decisions which help rather than harm children.

“This interaction today is yet another example of how it is so vital the Covid Inquiry scrutinises why the UK Government failed to adequately consider children’s rights when making decisions during the pandemic given the harm this caused.  It must also fully consider what actions are needed to mitigate the suffering caused to the ‘covid generation’ and ensure children are placed at the heart of Government decision-making, so the damage caused to them during the pandemic can never happen again.”


For media inquiries please contact Rhian Lubin – r.lubin@savethechildren.org.uk. For out of hours requests please contact media@savethechildren.org.uk +44(0)7831 650409