Lesley Griffiths, Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty
The 2010 Children and Families (Wales) Measure 2010 placed a duty on Welsh Ministers to develop a Child Poverty Strategy for Wales. Welsh Ministers fulfilled this duty by publishing the 2011 Child Poverty Strategy, which covered the period 2011-2014. Today, I am publishing a revised Child Poverty Strategy for Wales.
The 2015 Child Poverty Strategy reaffirms our ambition to eradicate child poverty by 2020 and our commitment to deliver the three strategic objectives of the 2011 Child Poverty Strategy. These focus on reducing the number of children living in workless households, increasing the skills of parents and young people to enable them to secure well paid employment and reducing the inequalities which exist in the education, health and economic outcomes of children and families living in poverty. In addition, we have included two new strategic objectives.
- to use all available levers to create a strong economy and labour market which supports the tackling poverty agenda and reduces in-work poverty in Wales.
- to support families living in poverty to increase household income through debt and financial advice, action to address the “poverty premium” (where households pay disproportionally more for goods and services) and action to mitigate the impacts of welfare reform.
We know there are considerable challenges ahead if we are to deliver on our ambition to eradicate child poverty, particularly as UK Government welfare reforms continue to be rolled out. Our own analysis shows these are having a disproportionate impact on families with children and we must continue to all we can to mitigate these impacts, wherever possible. In order to address these challenges, the Strategy sets out the short, medium and longer term vision for what needs to be achieved in relation to each of our strategic objectives.
It is important to recognise the Child Poverty Strategy does not sit in isolation. Reflecting the cross-cutting nature of the tackling poverty agenda, it is directly related to the Welsh Government’s Tackling Poverty Action Plan and other strategies and legislation which seek to improve outcomes for people from low income households. Our Tackling Poverty Action Plan remains the key mechanism by which we will deliver the aims of our Child Poverty Strategy. Our 2015 Annual Report on the Action Plan will include new actions and commitments which will enable the delivery of priorities identified as being most important for tackling child poverty.
Tackling poverty remains a high priority for me and the Government as a whole. All Welsh Ministers recognise they have a role to play in tackling poverty through a cross-Government approach. We are committed to doing all we can and we are working to identify more clearly the contribution which all parts of the Welsh Government can make to tackling poverty, meeting the objectives of this strategy and our Tackling Poverty Action Plan. Within the 2015 Strategy, we commit to undertaking further analysis, which will inform the development of interim outcomes and milestones which will drive further progress towards tackling child poverty in Wales.
Recognising we cannot tackle poverty on our own, collaboration and a focus on delivering common outcomes remains a top priority for the Welsh Government. Joint working with partners from across the Public, Private and Third Sector will continue to underpin our approach.
The 2015 Child Poverty Strategy for Wales is available on the Child Poverty pages of the Welsh Government website.