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The country is in serious difficulties. Here I suggest a course of action alternative to that pursued by recent administrations, one that recognises the value of healthy children to the economy.
The UK is experiencing a revolving-door set of prime ministers in this 12th year of Conservative rule. New cabinet ministers are no doubt eager to make their mark, aware that the country is in very grave economic difficulty. However, the turbulence in fiscal policy is clear evidence of disagreement in the approach to pursue. Therefore, it seems an appropriate moment to draw their attention to the value of children to the nation’s prosperity.
Several organisations concerned with the welfare of children, including the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, have already made their calls.1 Understandably, they focus in the main, on the here and now, calling for an extension of free school meals, expansion of childcare and the attendant workforce, protecting children from the collapse in living standards and addressing children’s unmet mental health needs. They also point to the moral obligations of the nation’s leaders towards children. However, let me make my case using language more attuned to current administrations: children are the economic and intellectual capital of the future. If children grow up healthy in body and mind, well educated in the sciences and the arts, and free of the stresses of financial …
Competing interests NM is immediate past president of the British Medical Association and Medical Women’s Federation, past president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, and president-elect of the European Association of Perinatal Medicine. The views expressed are her own.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.