The UK performs badly in UNICEF’s new report card

Date: 13th April 2016
Category: General principles, General measures of implementation

UNICEF has reprimanded Britain for not doing enough to reduce child health and education inequality, saying the UK is lagging behind some much poorer nations.

Britain has been reprimanded by the UN over its record on reducing inequality among children, as a report revealed the UK is lagging behind some much poorer nations in achieving parity between rich and poor on health and educational outcomes, and warned over the likely impact of future welfare cuts.

The Unicef report, 'Fairness for Children', emphasised the importance of a strong welfare system in reducing inequality - and carried a strong suggestion that the Government should reconsider its cuts to benefits.

The UK ranked 25th out of 37 wealthy countries covered by the report - behind Poland, Romania and Slovenia - for its equality levels in children's reading, maths and science skills at age 15.

Britain also saw the biggest difference between rich and poor children for consumption of healthy food such as fruit and vegetables, and it also had one of the largest gaps in levels of physical activity between children from high and low income backgrounds.

Lily Caprani, Unicef's deputy executive director for the UK, said the country "can and must do better" and should be "more ambitious" for its children.

Measures of inequality were based on survey results on health-related activities, and educational achievement data from EU and OECD countries.