FIGHT AGAINST CHILD POVERTY STALLING

March 11, 2008 12:00 AM

Commenting on today's comments from Keith Towler, Children's Commissioner for Wales, Jenny Willott, Welsh Liberal Democrat MP for Cardiff Central and member of the Work and Pensions Select Committee who recently published a report into Child Poverty, said:

"The fight against child poverty in Wales is stalling because of a complete lack of joined up and long term thinking by Labour's Westminster and Assembly Governments.

"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 will miss its child poverty targets by a wide margin.

"The Child Poverty Strategy has helped the easiest to reach families through the tax credit and benefit system. But there is emerging hardcore of parents who are far harder to help, especially in lone parent, disabled parent and some ethnic minority families.

"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.

"We need target more education funding at pupils from underprivileged backgrounds and improve the provision of quality childcare in the most deprived areas in Wales.

"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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