Sugden questions minister on child poverty action
Independent MLA Claire Sugden has said an upcoming report on child poverty must help inform a strategy to improve circumstances for struggling families.
Ms Sugden recently questioned the Minister for Communities on what steps were being taken by her department to address rising numbers of children living in poverty. It is expected that this year’s Child Poverty Annual Report will be published in the coming weeks. An Executive Anti-Poverty Strategy is also currently being developed.
“Sadly, families and children living in poverty is not a new phenomenon, but the numbers are rising – a fact that has been exasperated by the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting economic downturn,” Ms Sugden said.
“Public money is stretched, but we cannot afford to fail our children and young people, and have their life chances limited by poverty. This would be disastrous on both a personal and societal level.
“All children deserve the opportunity to make the most of their lives and to live free of the financial worries and stresses that all-too-often filter down from parents to children.
“The use of foodbanks has risen enormously in recent years, underlining the fact that it is often the necessities that are absent for some families, not treats or luxuries.
The Anti-Poverty Strategy is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
“This strategy has to be as far-reaching and as comprehensive as possible,” Ms Sugden continued.
“I welcome that the ministerial steering group has met for the first time to assess the work already done and work still to do.
“Getting this strategy right is of huge importance – the lives of many people in need will be affected by the outcomes.”