Headlines: June 26th, 2009

More action is needed to tackle child poverty in Wales, according to new research from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. It says the Welsh Assembly Government needs a more coherent and up-to-date approach to deal with the problem.

The study shows that although the proportion of children in poverty in Wales fell more quickly than in any English region in the first half of the last decade, it has now risen again so that almost a third of Welsh children live in poverty. Of those 192,000 children around 60 per cent are in a household where their parents do not work and 42 per cent live with a lone-parent.

The study’s author, Victoria Winckler, of the Bevan Foundation, said: the Assembly Government would need to act if it was to meet the target of ending child poverty by 2020. “It will need to introduce a wider range of policies, and provide a clearer focus on what is needed to help parents enter and stay in work. A good start has been made in addressing child poverty through education. This may have a positive longer-term impact on children’s well-being, but it will have little effect in the short term,” she said.

Many of the changes that were needed would have to be made by the UK government but there was still a crucial role for the Assembly Government. Her recommendations include more help for parents to find jobs, better childcare provision, family friendly working and encouraging public and voluntary sector employers to take part in Local Employer Partnerships.
She added: “Although we’re currently living in challenging economic times, a proactive approach to getting people back into work should now be the main focus in Wales.”