A Left Unity Budget for Children 2023

If there were a socialist government producing the March budget,  rather than this cruel government for the rich, this is what we would want in that budget, for all our children. 

Our aim is to ensure as far as humanly possible every child is safe, well-fed, well-educated, has decent housing, has room and access to play, clean air to breathe, access to world class health care, access to the arts and access to their families. We aim to give children lives with less stress and hardship, 

more time and energy to play, learn and enjoy life. If a hostile force were damaging our children as austerity has damaged them, we would be at war. Let us wage war against child poverty. Let us invest in our children and young people. We welcome contributions to this discussion and invite others on the left to share in this. 

Most of what we outline could be done now. Socialist aspire to much more but this could be done even before we took the control of wealth and government from the very rich. Each item in the budget below is labelled with a code to indicate its current status: 

  • R if it is restoring a previously existing service
  • P if such a service has been delivered in the past without the  economic skies falling in
  • C if it is a response to new developments such as climate change
  • N if it is a new addition to previously funded policies. R,N if it is new in part
  • S if it could save money

In a socialist budget for children, we would promise to deliver: 

Food, financial and emotional security 

  • Create an additional, universal, non-means tested, tax free, family allowance, paid to the mother or the main carer, of £35 per week for the first child and £25 for subsequent children.N 
  • Introduce free school meals for all school children and children at nurseries.N
  • Increase benefits in line with inflation plus 10%.R 
  • Improve paid maternity and paternity leave allowances by inflation plus 10%. Extend paid paternity leave by 3 months for all.N 
  • Protect the rights of pregnant women at work and in the welfare services. Make sacking pregnant women illegal.N 
  • Recognise the immense value to the child and to society of the mothering, caring  and nurturing work involved in parenting and child-raising, and restructure welfare regulations and employment regulations where necessary.N and R 
  • Work to remove the mothers’ penalty in pay differentials.N
  • Restore and repair the Health Visitor service.R 
  • Restore, repair and improve support for breastfeeding.R 

Public services 

  • Meet the pay demands of all public sector workers, and expect all private sector employers relying on public contracts to do the same.N (Click to Tweet)
  • Fund, repair and restore NHS maternity care. Work to recruit, retain, win back, and enhance the workforce in maternity services.R 
  • Begin to build a national childcare service, free at the point of need with well qualified staff and good premises.P
  • Reinstate Sure Start.R 
  • Repair and restore playgrounds and play centres.R 
  • Fund restore and repair local authority children’s social services.R 
  • Fund and repair services for children in care. Pay staff well and support in-service professional education and consultation for staff. Regularly and appropriately consult the children and those who grew up in care.R and N 
  • Work to keep children with their parents or family wherever possible. Poverty must not break up families.R and N 
  • Accept parental responsibility for children in care until the age of 26.R and N 


  • Fund and repair the NHS for children’s services as part of a return to the Bevan model of the NHS.R 
  • Restore and repair CAMHS.R 
  • Consult with paediatricians, nurses and other NHS staff and parents for the necessary improvements in health care for children.N 


  • Fund and repair Nursery education, with qualified teachers, for all from age three, if parents wish to use this service.R 
  • Create a national universal speech and language service.R and N 
  • Fund, repair and restore the schools’ system.R 
  • Reinstate child-centred education.R 
  • Fund and repair Learning Support and Special Education.R 
  • Consult with teachers and parents about how to improve literacy for all. Meanwhile encourage cooperative, professional initiatives from teachers.N 
  • Abolish Ofsted and develop cooperative forms of inspection.S 
  • Provide music  and art education for all.R and N 
  • Fund a school building programme.R 
  • Pay teachers well, reduce the workload, retain, recruit and re-recruit teachers.R 
  • Give control of schools back to democratically elected local authorities; end the academy project.R 
  • Redesign the national curriculum consulting teachers and parents and local communities. Whilst this is happening allow schools to apply to deviate from the National Curriculum in the interests of their children.R


  • Deliver a million new homes a year.N 
  • Repair and restore a million homes in disrepair.P 
  • Outlaw evictions of families with children.N 
  • Requisition empty and speculative homes to end child homelessness.R and N 

Post-school education 

  • Fund and repair further education and access to lifelong learning.R 
  • Democratise the governance of universities.R 
  • Pay University staff well, reduce the workload, retain, recruit and re-recruit staff.R 
  • Reintroduce grants for students and end student loans.R 

 Outdoor Education, Arts, and Leisure 

  • Ensure all young people have access to sports and outdoor pursuits.R and N 
  • Reinstate and repair the youth services, funding local authorities accordingly.R and N 
  • Restore and repair the library service.R 

 Climate and environmental degradation 

  • Work immediately to improve air quality in our residential and educational areas.C and P 
  • Commit to a full climate management policy to ensure a safe future for all our children.C 
  • Factor children’s safety into all mitigation and disaster response policies and practices.C 


  • Free travel on public transports for all under eighteen.N 
  • Prioritise children’s safety in traffic management.P 


  • Develop ways of giving children a democratic voice in all their institutions and in public life. Let their voices be heard.N 

Sex Education  

  • Require local authorities to develop and regularly review policies cooperatively with schools, the health service and parents.N 
  •  Develop in service work with teachers and their trade unions.R 


  • Develop ways of working with child victims of war to restore as much as possible of their heath and emotional wellbeing. 
  • Recognise the special damage war does to children and restrict the development of the arms industry in this country. 
  • Work for a future with greater international understanding. Develop education in languages and understanding of other countries. 
  • Restore Erasmus education links. 



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