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Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 December, 2003, 10:13 GMT
Warning over child poverty policy
The executive pledged to eradicate child poverty within a generation
The Scottish Executive will not be able to eradicate child poverty through its current policies, according to charities north of the border.

Communities Minister Margaret Curran has announced how 10m of funding will be used to fight poverty.

In its first year in power, the Scottish Executive promised to wipe out child poverty within a generation.

But Peter Kelly of the Poverty Alliance said the policies were not in place to tackle the problem in the long term.

He said: "Through a variety of initiatives the government has managed to move people back into employment, very often into relatively low-paid jobs.

"But what they appear to be doing is moving people who are maybe just under the poverty threshold at the moment to just above it.

Margaret Curran
We have never said that one measure will tackle child poverty
Margaret Curran
Communities Minister
"What they have to do in the years to come is move people who are right at the bottom of the income scale, that's people who are in the most severe forms of poverty.

"That is going to be a huge challenge for them if they are just relying on work alone."

Ms Curran announced details of new childcare projects across the country on a visit to Easterhouse in Glasgow on Tuesday.

She said the measures were targeted at the most excluded members of society.

She also pointed to figures released by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation which suggested that things were moving in the right direction.

Its report said "real progress" had been made in tackling poverty since 1997 and predicted that the UK may soon move out of the bottom of the European poverty league.

Increase opportunities

"We have never said that one measure will tackle child poverty," said the minister.

She suggested that work was the best route out of poverty.

"We know that lots of single parents in Scotland do want to work, so we are looking to create measures that increase their opportunities to do that," she said.

Ms Curran announced the creation of the 20m working for families fund last year.

On Tuesday, she said 10 Scottish councils would share 10m of the cash.

The cash is geared towards helping disadvantaged parents find training or employment by providing them with flexible childcare and support.

BBC Scotland's Fiona Walker
"The communities minister says they are making inroads"

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