10 April 2013

A new UNICEF report, Report Card 11, puts the UK in 16th position – below Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Portugal – in a league table of child well-being in the world's richest countries.

An earlier report in 2007 put the UK at the bottom of 21 developed countries for overall child well-being, so there has been minor improvement. 

However there are still areas in which the UK ranks significantly low, especially among young people aged 15 to 19.

Teenage pregnancy rates continue to be high, as do the numbers of young people under 19 not in education, employment or training. The UK also has one of the highest alcohol abuse rates in 11 to 15 year olds. 

Report Card 11 also shows that cuts to services for young people are having a negative effect.

More than £300 million has been cut from services for young people in the Department for Education's 2011-12 budget, a 26% drop from the previous year. In addition, 400,000 more children are projected to be in poverty by 2015-2016 because of cuts to services. 

"With the UK ranking near the bottom of the league table on teenage pregnancy and young people not in education, employment or training, we know that many are facing a bleaker future," said Anita Tiessen of UNICEF UK.

She added: "The government needs to acknowledge this and act now. While children and young people will be the first to bear the brunt if we fail to safeguard their well-being, over time society as a whole will pay the price."

 
The latest UNICEF Report Card shows that fewer young people go on to further education in the UK than in any other major developed country. © UNICEF UK
The latest UNICEF Report Card shows that fewer young people go on to further education in the UK than in any other major developed country.© UNICEF UK