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Assembly ‘must act to end child poverty scandal’

16 June, 2008


Foyle Sinn Féin MLA Martina Anderson speaking ahead of the publication of a major report into child poverty has said that the report findings have the potential to eradicate the 'scandal' of child poverty here.

The Inquiry was conducted by the Committee of the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister and the Assembly will be asked to endorse their findings and produce a detailed action plan to deliver on the recommendations tomorrow (June 17th).

Ms Anderson said:

"This report contains many recommendations which, if implemented, could go a long way towards eliminating the scandalous level of child poverty in the North of Ireland.

"Many issues are addressed such as benefits, tax credits, affordable childcare, social housing and fuel poverty.

"The Executive is already committed to eradicating child poverty by 2020 and I believe the recommendations in this report can point the way towards achieving that very worthwhile objective.

"Unfortunately, there are some areas which we will have little control over - particularly the Benefits system - which reaffirms the need for more powers to be devolved away from British Ministers and into the hands of Irish people who genuinely care about the constituents they represent.

"I believe the report will also call for a specific action plan to deal with the issue of rising fuel costs. While the recently-established Fuel Poverty Taskforce will be taking the lead on this issue I think that all options need to be considered including additional payments and special tariffs for vulnerable groups and low-income households.

"I am confident that this report will win the overwhelming support of all parties in the Assembly because child poverty is something which affects every constituency.

"It doesn't matter whether you represent the Bogside or Ballysillan, a hungry child is a hungry child and that is something which should unite us all." ENDS

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