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SDLP ‘scaremongering’ over kids fund

6 February, 2008

Children have found themselves the victim of 'scaremongering' by the SDLP, Foyle Sinn Féin MLA Martina Anderson has said.

"My office has this week been contacted by a number of organisations who are concerned at SDLP claims that there is no dedicated children's fund in the Executive's budget," Ms. Anderson said.

"This was one of the most trumpeted reasons in the SDLP's bizarre decision to vote against the budget and it has caused a lot of concern for schemes which rely on the Children and Young People's Fund to survive.

"However, what Mark Durkan didn't mention is that £26 million has been earmarked for children and young people's issues while a further £13 million was secured for the Department of Education, again for children and young people.

"So while the Children and Young People's Fund will cease to exist as an entity at the end of this year, the money will not.

"All that has changed is the delivery mechanism. Rather than a stand-alone fund, we expect to see even more resources targeted at children and young people through a more effective, cross-departmental and strategic approach.

"The Ministerial sub-committee on children has also been re-established to ensure that all government Departments are delivering on their responsibilities to children and young people and providing what resources are needed.

"The fact is that children and young people are now more of a priority than they ever were but rather than acknowledge that reality, the SDLP unfortunately chose to play on the fears of some of our most vulnerable people in order to score cheap political points." ENDS

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