McKevitt raises Newry child poverty issue in Assembly

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Monday, October 15th, 2012
SDLP South Down MLA Karen McKevitt asked Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness to provide the Assembly with an update on the Executive’s development of a child poverty action plan. Speaking to Newry Times McKevitt said she raised this because Newry & Mourne has 28% of children designated as living in poverty. “We are the only devolved area where the rate of child poverty is still rising. I was disappointed by the Deputy First Minister’s reply which was long on inter-departmental meetings and statistical targets but very short on substance. “Not only does the Office of First Minister and Deputy First Minister not have an action plan for child poverty, he didn’t even have a timetable for getting one. We need our own targets because child poverty in the north is serious and about to get worse as the welfare cuts kick in. We have 32,000 children in persistent poverty. She added, “We have 1500 families with more than five children who are facing a drop in benefit. Parents who are able to find work to try to work their way out of poverty are faced with the lack of childcare because the OFMDFM doesn’t have a strategy for that either.”
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