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Anti-poverty strategy must make a real difference

13 November, 2006

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Human Rights and Equality, South Down MLA Caitriona Ruane has said that there must be clear targets to ensure that the objective of eliminating poverty and social exclusion by 2020 is met.

Speaking after attending the launch in Belfast today Ms Ruane said:

"The publication of a strategy to tackle poverty was an issue raised by Sinn Féin at St Andrews and publication today is both very welcome and long overdue.

"Sinn Féin also argued that objective need is the central criteria in ensuring the success of any anti-poverty strategy.

"The fact is that the delay in brining forward this anti-poverty strategy has seen more and more people become vulnerable to poverty. Levels of fuel poverty have increased with escalating prices, child poverty now affects more than a quarter of our children, pensioners are facing severe hardship and there are issues like water charges that could force yet more people into poverty.

"We also need to see a real commitment to changing the educational outcomes of people from disadvantaged communities and a determination to create jobs in areas that are currently not getting their fair share of support from agencies such as Invest NI.

"Poverty takes many forms and affects many different vulnerable groups. We need clearly defined targets to ensure progress and we need a truly joined up approach to ensure success." ENDS

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