Sinn Féin MLA Megan Fearon has said higher wages and benefits are key to combating child poverty.
Speaking after the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission said targets to reduce child poverty will not be met, the Newry and Armagh MLA said;
“The Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission has said that levels of child poverty could rise.
“The Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission has admitted the target of reducing child poverty to 5 per cent by 2020 is 'simply unattainable'. This is a direct challenge to the coalition government’s ‘Welfare Reform’ agenda of reducing or stripping away benefits from the most disadvantaged.
"There is clearly a credibility gap at the heart of the British government's child poverty strategy of getting more parents into employment. Simply focusing on trying to get more people into work is not the answer.
"More than half of the children in the north living in poverty are in households where one or both parents are in employment.
“The reality for those who can find jobs is that they move from low-income workless households to low-income working households.
"If we are to start effectively addressing child poverty and thus family poverty then people must be paid a living wage, benefits must keep pace with inflation and attempts to force people of benefits must cease.
“No one should be surprised Sinn Féin has so resolutely opposed the introduction of the ‘welfare reform’ agenda. The agenda is about an attack on the most vulnerable in our society and there is an onus on us as political leaders to defend and assist the least well off within our society.
"If we are serious about tackling child poverty then we must redouble our efforts to address child poverty otherwise we are condemning future generations of our children and young people to a bleak and dissolute future."