5 Jul 2007

226 less for NI children compared to Scotland

A LANDMARK report launched today by the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People, Patricia Lewsley, shows children are being short changed on personal social service spending.

The expenditure per child in Northern Ireland on personal social services in Northern Ireland is £287. In Scotland it is £513; in Wales £429.10; and in England it is £402.

The report – commissioned and funded by NICCY, the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister, and the Department of Finance and Personnel – was launched today at Stormont.

The hugely detailed report combines research on spending on children across social care, health, education, housing and benefits.

“I am extremely worried by the findings of this research,” said Ms Lewsley. “It is clear that we need to look at why children are losing out in personal social services at a time when we hear that the services in mental health and speech and language therapy are not meeting children’s needs.

“My office has expressed concern for some time that there is a gap in spending on children’s services.

We’re grateful that the Office of First Minister and Deputy First Minister and the Department of Finance and Personnel supported this landmark report – the first of its kind in Northern Ireland.”

The Commissioner said she wanted the Northern Ireland Executive to closely examine the report and its findings when deciding on future budget allocations, especially in light of the Comprehensive Spending Review.

“This report proves that spending on children must remain a high priority for the Executive. It clearly shows that too little is spent on personal social services, education spending is not having sufficient impact, and key areas such as housing and benefits need closer examination.”

The full report can be downloaded here