10/01/2012

More Work Needed To Tackle Child Poverty

According to recent research more needs to be done to get children in Northern Ireland out of Poverty, with the British Government being blamed for the elimination target slipping.

The charity Barnardos has revealed that two areas in Northern Ireland have two of the highest rates of child poverty in the UK.

A new report from the Campaign to End Child Poverty has reported that West Belfast has child poverty rates totaling 46% while Londonderry has rates of 36%.

Northern Ireland has a recorded 17% of children living in workless households compared to 13% this time last year. The charity said that NI racks up the highest figure in the whole of the UK and it is apparent that the recession has had a very clear impact on Northern Ireland.

A call has been made for the government to put into action plans that will get people back into work and create jobs in a bid to alleviate child poverty.

Sinn Féin MP for West Belfast, Paul Maskey, has stated that the British government will lead to the target of eliminating child poverty by 2020 slipping but has welcomed the work being carried out by the Executive to tackle this pressing issue.

Speaking following a report from the Campaign to End Child Poverty which highlighted Mr Maskey said: “These figures, indicating that West and North Belfast along with Foyle have some of the highest levels of child poverty is unfortunately not surprising.

"For decades these wards have seen huge underinvestment by successive British governments in terms of job creation, housing, infrastructural investment and other such factors that affect the quality of life for the people living here.

"Under the Child Poverty Act the British government are obliged to end child poverty by 2020. The stark reality though is that with the current policies being pursued by the Tory led coalition these targets could be difficult to reach and will only exacerbate the problem.

"While the Executive is facing this problem head on with a programme for government commitment aimed at eradicating child poverty, they are constrained by the severe British cuts of over 4bn to the block grant along with issues such as the Welfare Reform bill, higher taxes on fuel increasing fuel poverty and decreased public spending.

“However measures from the Executive include the development of a poverty outcomes model along with the progressing of a child poverty action plan, in conjunction with the Poverty and Social Inclusion stakeholder forum, which is working to deliver a number of signature projects that would alleviate child poverty."

(LB)

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