Kids should be exempt from rule of six, says Children's Commissioner

29 September 2020, 11:00

By Fiona Jones

Those under 12 years old should be exempt from the rule of six, says Children's Commissioner Anne Longfield OBE.

England is two weeks into the Prime Minister's coronavirus regulation "rule of six" which limits socialising to no more than six people, with penalties for a first offence being £200.

Children's Commissioner Anne Longfield told LBC that Westminster's measures throughout the pandemic have not prioritised children at any point, an example being the pubs being allowed to reopen with "kids forced to stay at home."

For rule of six specifically, she said, kids have a "different circumstance."

"They're not at the greatest health risk here, they are particularly going to pay a heavy price if they're locked in at home. None of us want to see the kids actually at home on their PlayStations all day playing with their screens.

"In other countries they have relaxed those and made their children exempt by allowing children under 12 who are not being counted as one of the household," Ms Longfield said.

She continued that in some parts of the country children are included in the rule that households can't mix which means they are not allowed to play out with their friends and partake in "all the things that we hold dear about childhood."

The Children's Commissioner told Nick that she also has an eye when the clocks go back and the nights will draw in earlier. She is prioritising outside school time for children, impressing the importance of children relaxing with friends and having hobbies.

Reflecting on university students, a minority of whom are in tough lockdown, the Commissioner said that these young adults have had a very tough year and her heart goes out for them.

"It needs sorting out, those children need to know that they can get on with their lives," she said, "they've been held back so much over this year.

"From what I can see there are different scenarios in different universities but now they are back the situation needs sorting," she reiterated.

Read more: Student lockdowns are 'legally dicey', human rights lawyer says