A Conservative former minister has praised the John Lewis Christmas advert, as it was not the “usual dross” but actually sparked interest in foster caring.
Tim Loughton said the advert was “heart-tugging” and that the chain of department stores did not flag up children in care just to sell “more crackers and turkeys for Christmas”.
This year, the John Lewis Christmas advert – now a highly anticipated staple of the festive season – stars a man painfully learning to master a skateboard as he awaits the arrival of a young teenager his family is taking in to foster care.
Speaking during a backbench debate in the Commons on an independent review of children’s social care, led by former teacher Josh MacAlister, the MP for East Worthing and Shoreham said: “I’m really pleased with the John Lewis advert this year.
“It’s one of those heart tugging adverts better than the usual dross you get from the supermarket at Christmas quite often, but it’s not just an advert, it’s a cause and a mission.
“And John Lewis, in flagging up children in care in this advert, isn’t just trying to sell more crackers and turkeys for Christmas. It has actually invested in children in the care system, it has taken on I believe something like 17 young people who have been in the care system to work for them.”
The former children’s minister noted the British company partners with Action for Children and The Who Cares charity to support young people moving from care to independent living and “it’s raising awareness of the disadvantages of children in the care system, the inequalities that they face”.
Mr Loughton called for the Government to work with John Lewis and other employers to have a “national recruitment campaign for foster carers”.
He said: “I say three cheers to John Lewis for doing that and I hope they will continue to do that.
“I hope they will raise the awareness amongst their customers to do that and I hope other people will follow their example. My experience from those foster care organisations, who I work with, is that they’ve already seen an increase in interest of people about becoming foster carers.
“And I hope that the Government, and I’m sure the new minister will want to do this, if she hasn’t already worked with John Lewis and other employers, to have a national recruitment campaign for foster carers because goodness knows, we desperately need them.”