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Child poverty can only be tackled by investment and multi departmental approach

20 February, 2013

Sinn Féin MP for West Belfast Paul Maskey has said major investment and a multi agency approach is needed if we are to comprehensively tackle child poverty in West Belfast.

 West Belfast MP Paul Maskey said:

 “Low wages as well as high unemployment is contributing to the poverty faced by entire communities in West Belfast due to generational neglect by successive British Governments.

 “It is unacceptable that children in a modern society are going hungry or parents cannot afford to heat their homes due to lack of money.

 “It’s clear that all agencies and government departments have a duty to tackle child poverty as it is a main objective of the Programme of Government in the Assembly.

 “The Strategic Investment Fund (SIF) which is an initiative set up by the joint First Ministers office which is set up to tackle poverty will be ready to be rolled out within months.

 “There has already been a lot of ground covered by the West Belfast SIF Committee and this work needs to focus in bringing meaningful changes to the lives of people who are suffering the most.

 “I met with the Children's Commissioners office a few months ago on this issue and have arranged to meet again within the next few weeks I have also requested a meeting with Barnardo's to discuss the report and work out an action plan.

 “I have been meeting with Invest NI and DEL to discuss investment in West Belfast and in my opinion if high unemployment is reduced it will go a long way to reducing the child poverty statistics. We will continue to engage with all the relevant agencies to improve the standards of living for the people of west Belfast”.

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