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Political editor Brian Taylor
"People in one deprived area of Glasgow are sceptical"
 real 28k

Audio
Minister for Children and Education Sam Galbraith talks about the reforms
 real 28k

Wendy Alexander, MSP
"People want child poverty to be got ride of"
 real 28k

Monday, 22 November, 1999, 19:56 GMT
Executive poverty pledges criticised
New targets to eliminate poverty have been unveiled

The Scottish Executive has unveiled targets to wipe out child poverty within 20 years.

However, the plans have been criticised by opposition MSPs as not being tough enough.

The targets include reducing the proportion of children in low income families and ensuring every 19-year-old is in education work or training.

Ministers will also publish a Scottish social justice report every year to chart progress.

Aims include
Boost basic school skills in P2 and P7
Halve number of 16-19 year olds out of work
Target smoking, alcohol misuse and poor diet
Cut number of elderly on low income
Cut crime and unemployment in disadvantaged areas
Reduce homelessness
First Minister Donald Dewar said: "If you look at the figures, you will see that over the last 20 years or so, we've seen the number of children living in poor households doubling in Scotland.

"We've seen the number of children living in workless households doubling.

"We've seen all sorts of statistics that suggest the trend is robbing a lot of our people of the chance to realise their full potential.

"The trouble is that lots of governments have made aspirational and ambitious statements about their intentions.

"This is not just that, this has got a whole series of measurements."

However, Scottish National Party spokeswoman on housing and social justice Fiona Hyslop criticised the targets as not being tough enough.

Fiona Hyslop: "Vague promises"
She said: "There are no real measurements in what the executive have announced - only vague promises to be nicer and care more.

"The Scottish Poverty Information Unit estimated that there were 800,000 people living on or about the level of income support.

"What we want to know is how many of those 800,000 men, women and children will be still be living at that level next year and the year after - not in 10 or 20 years time.

"This is part of New Labour managerial Britain, all mission statements and target setting, no actual substance."

As part of the drive to tackle child poverty, ministers have announced 14m of extra funding for local authorities under the Sure Start Scotland initiative.

Minister for Children and Education Sam Galbraith said: "We are determined to tackle the inequalities in health and social development seen in children from different backgrounds even by the age of three, so that every child fully benefits from pre-school education and care."

Increased resources

Speaking during a visit to Drumchapel Family Learning Centre, Mr Galbraith said that every council will receive increased resources for Sure Start next year.

Sure Start Scotland funding is also targeted at rural areas, where innovative approaches including mobile services will provide support for families who might otherwise be geographically isolated.

Health and Community Care Minister Susan Deacon said: "This is one strand of our concerted drive to improve the health of mothers and babies from through pregnancy and beyond.

"We are already reviewing the role of community nurses and midwives to see if they can play a greater role in providing practical health advice to mothers and young children."

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See also:
19 Nov 99 |  Scotland
'Little change' since poverty pledge
09 Nov 99 |  UK Politics
Child poverty to be 'halved in a decade'
09 Nov 99 |  UK Politics
Pre-Budget Report: At a glance
09 Nov 99 |  UK Politics
No increase in 75p pension rise
07 Sep 99 |  UK
Britain's excluded millions
14 Jul 99 |  UK Politics
Brown unveils child poverty targets
20 Jul 99 |  UK
Four million children 'living in poverty'
01 Sep 99 |  UK
Labour 'will lift 2 million from poverty'
21 Sep 99 |  UK Politics
War on poverty

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