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UNICEF Report on Child Poverty shows children are paying price for Government Policy – Carthy

28 October, 2014 - by Matt Carthy MEP

UNICEF Report on Child Poverty shows children are paying price for Government Policy – Carthy

Speaking today in relation to the UNICEF 12th Annual Report Card entitled Children of the Recession, Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West Constituency Matt Carthy said:

“The UNICEF report measures whether levels of child poverty have increased or decreased since 2008 and shows that in Ireland, Child Poverty has increased by 10% and currently ranks 37th out of 41 OECD countries, ahead of Croatia, Latvia, Greece and Iceland.

“This comes after figures released by Eurostat showed that the child poverty rate in Ireland rose from 18% to 28.6% between 2008 and 2012, meaning that there are an additional 130,000 children living in poverty in Ireland as a result of the austerity policies implemented by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael governments.

“In my view, these figures prove that children, particularly those of lower income families, have been paying a disproportionate price for the austerity agenda that has been relentlessly pursued by successive governments.

“Sinn Féin has continually argued that greater supports must be provided to those on low incomes and our alternative Budget proposals outlined specific measures that the Government could introduce which would go some way to addressing this issue.

“These measures included a proposal to take 296,000 of the lowest earners out of the USC net, raise the One Parent Family Payment Income Disregard, increase Family Income Supplement by 10%, increase funding for the School Meal Programme, the School Books Grant and increase the Annual Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance of €50.

“All of these measures could have been introduced while still meeting the Budget Deficit targets and, along with the abolition of the water charges and family home tax would have put money into the pockets of hard pressed parents.

“Instead this Government chose to introduce yet another Budget which unfairly targets those on lower incomes. According to the ESRI Budget 2015 is a regressive Budget in which the bottom 20% of households took a hit of 1.1% while the top 20% saw an increase of 0.5% thanks to tax cuts.

“It is an absolute scandal that 28.6% of our children are living in poverty and Government representatives should treat today’s figures as a wake-up call as they clearly demonstrate the real impact that political choices have had on the lives of our children.”ENDS

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