CHILD POVERTY EFFORTS MUST BE ACCELERATED IF TARGETS ARE TO BE MET

March 3, 2008 12:00 AM

Today (Monday), the House of Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee released its report on its inquiry into Child Poverty.

Commenting, Jenny Willott, member of the Committee and Welsh Liberal Democrat MP for Cardiff Central, said:

"Unless the Government accelerates its efforts to combat child poverty, it will miss its 2010 target by a huge margin.

"There are still around 140,000 children in Wales living in poverty and recent figures show that the numbers are increasing. If you take into account the costs of housing, the Government is on course to miss its child poverty targets by around 2 million children.

"There is an emerging hardcore of parents who are the hardest to help. Poverty is particularly high amongst children of lone parents and disabled parents and within ethnic minorities.

"Getting parents into sustainable employment is a very important part of the solution. But jobs need to be secure and long term because parents going in an out of work can cause more damage to the child.

"The Government needs to do far more work on the link between low educational attainment and child poverty. Providing quality childcare should also be a priority as there is a worrying shortage in some of the most deprived areas.

"In the longer-term, the Government needs to devise a more far-reaching system of benefit income for those who cannot work, as well as a more flexible and tailored approach to others parents if it is to live up to its pledge to eradicate child poverty."

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