PRIME MINISTER David Cameron has described the case of the 10-year-old boy kept in a coal bunker in Blackpool “shocking”, and has agreed to look at modernising child neglect laws.
He made his comments in Parliament after Blackpool North and Cleveleys MP Paul Maynard highlighted the case - and the fact that the neglect laws used to prosecute the child’s mother and his step-father date back to 1933 and are no longer fit for purpose.
Mr Maynard said: “Child neglect is a sad fact in all our constituencies, and in Blackpool we have seen the sentencing of two parents who pleaded guilty this week to keeping their 10-year-old son in demeaning circumstances in a coal bunker. At the same time, the charity Action for Children has highlighted the fact that the law on child neglect dates from 1933 and no longer corresponds to the demands of modern parenting.
“Does the Prime Minister not agree that it is time to ask the Law Commission to look at this law once again?”
The Prime Minister said: “My hon friend is right to raise that completely shocking case, and for anyone trying to understand how a parent could treat that child that way, it is just completely unfathomable.
“I will obviously look at what he says about the Law Commission and modernising the law, but in dealing with such appalling cases of child neglect and with families that have completely broken down, we have so many agencies currently working on this, including, crucially, social workers, and the most important thing is to have a real system of passing on information and passing on concerns rapidly—and then acting on them.
“Just passing another law will not make up for the common sense and action that we require our agencies to deliver.