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Resources for children - Less is never more

21 December, 2004

Sinn Fein Spokesperson on Children and Young People, West Belfast MLA Sue Ramsey has said that the Budget announced by direct rule ministers has betrayed children and young people living in the north of Ireland.

Ms Ramsey said:

"While there are a number of significant developments in the budget announced this week from what was a totally unacceptable draft budget, it is difficult to escape the fact that there will be less money available to meet the needs of our children and young people not more.

"There continue to be fundamental concerns shared by almost everyone working with and for children and young people about the failure to resource the Children's Fund and the planned 10-year Children and Young People Strategy.

"The provision of £15 million over 3 years to resource new proposals such as the Capital Modernisation Fund, which children's groups can apply to, are to be welcomed. But this is no way makes up for the decision to scrap the Children's Fund and the £27 million per year that allowed it to support vital services.

"It is also good to finally see a commitment to develop the Children and Young People strategy through mainstream services, but we need to see the detail and we need to see new resources committed to support its implementation.

"The reality is that less is never more. There will also continue to be pressures on the health and education budgets that will see cuts and services across the Health Boards and the Education Library Boards will be damaged. Despite clear commitments to deliver for our children and young people what is being proposed by British direct rule ministers will only undermine and damage services. Given the high levels of child poverty this is inexcusable. This is a betrayal of children and young people living in the north of Ireland." ENDS

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