There’s no catch-up funding to help parents access disrupted support services or extra mental health support, says Catherine McKinnell MP, chair of the Petitions Committee
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The last 18 months have been difficult for many of us.
As a mum-of-three, I know how challenging it was juggling work, home schooling and family commitments with the new world we all found ourselves in.
But it’s been even harder for those who have become parents since the start of the pandemic. They’ve missed out on so much support.
That’s why the Petitions Committee, which I chair, has been pushing the Government to step up.
It’s worrying that since my committee published its first report on the impact of Covid-19 on new parents last July, there’s been little or no progress on the overwhelming majority of our recommendations.
From the evidence we’ve heard, the pandemic’s impact is still being felt deeply by new and expectant parents.
Yet Government support has been seriously lacking.
There has been no “catch-up” funding to help new parents access disrupted support services, or targeted extra mental health support.
New mothers are still to see the extension of redundancy protections the Government promised over two years ago.
When I challenged the Prime Minister on this in July, he was unable to say when it would happen.
Tim McGuinness / Evening Chronicle)
Although Government plans for long-term capacity-building in areas such as perinatal mental health and children’s development are welcome, these don’t go far enough.
We’ve continued to receive petitions highlighting the difficulties new parents, and services they rely on in their child’s vital early months, have faced over the last year.
Last month, I led a debate on behalf of 112,000 petitioners calling for an independent review into the funding and affordability of childcare.
The Petitions Committee and I will continue to challenge ministers to bring forward the changes that new parents and their children need.
Making the investment now will ensure every new parent and child gets the support they need to thrive.