14/01/2020

Govt Recycling Old Commitments On Child Poverty - SF

The government's 'Roadmap for Social Inclusion 2020-2025' has been criticised as a recycled commitment on tackling child poverty which they previously failed to meet.

Making the criticism, Sinn Féin spokesperson for Employment Affairs & Social Protection, John Brady, said: "This morning we see the publication of the Governments' 'RoadMap for Social Inclusion 2020-2025' which we have been waiting for since 2018.

"This is not the first time that the Government have made commitments on reducing poverty. Back in 2014 as part of the National Policy Framework for Children & Young People (Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures), the Government set themselves a target of lifting 70,000 children out of consistent poverty by 2020. 

"They couldn't achieve that having given themselves six years to do so, yet they are now promising to meet the same target in the space of one year. 

"It is the Governments' own policy that flies in the face of tackling poverty. We see that in the reduced rates for young Jobseekers aged 18-24 and we see it in the way in which social welfare rates are set - based on nothing and instead used as a political football every year at Budget time.

"This approach looks set to continue as the Roadmap published today includes a focus on the continuation of the Working Family Payment which is being used to supplement poor pay. If workers were paid an adequate wage in the first instance, they would not need to rely on a top up from Government. Sinn Féin, in Government would introduce a Living Wage.

"The Roadmap also includes re-states a commitment to link the State Pension to the Consumer Price Index. We need to see all social welfare payments indexed to adequacy – as stakeholders have called for continuously. Sinn Féin have put forward a way to achieve this to the Minister as party policy and as legislation.

"We know from the latest Survey on Income & Living Conditions that there are over 202,000 children in this State living in poverty. The fact that the Government are two years late publishing this report shows their level of commitment on tackling one of the greatest challenges we face as a State."

(MH/CM)

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