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Monday, 18 February, 2002, 11:17 GMT
Action urged to combat child poverty
Child poverty
The government has pledged to ban child poverty
Children in Wales are more likely to come from families on low incomes than those from other parts of the UK, according to a report.

Research by the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) has underlined that a significant number of children in Wales remain blighted by the effects of poverty.
children on the streets
The numbers of children on the streets is a concern

The study shows that 36% of children in Wales live in homes with less than half the average UK income.

Across the UK, thirteen million people - a quarter of the population - live in poverty and yet Britain is the world's fourth most prosperous nation.

The government was warned last month by the New Policy Institute and Fabian Society that its poverty strategy was heading towards failure.

The government has promised to eradicate child and pensioner poverty by the end of the next decade.

At the end of the day, it is about spending money

Martin Barnes, director CPAG
The CPAG is now lobbying the government to introduce a package of measures in April's budget.

CPAG director Martin Barnes said the report showed that urgent action was now needed to tackle the issue.

"What is novel about this is that the study comes some three years after Tony Blair gave his historic pledge to banish child poverty," he said.

"This now highlights the challenge facing the government, local authorities and the Welsh Assembly.

'Incredibly ambitious'

"The picture is a very stark and urgent one."

Mr Barnes said the main problem was that no uniformly agreed measure was in place to assess poverty figures.

The most commonly used indicator is the assessment of household incomes, which show that over one child in three is defined as living in poverty.

"What we are saying is that we need a greater sense of urgency," he added.

Targeted spending

"There is no magic wand, but at the end of the day, it is about spending money and looking at the structures of communities.

"The government has this pledge in the UK to lift 1m children out of poverty within the next three years, which is incredibly ambitious."

In Wales, some measures have been introduced to tackle poverty, including the assembly's Communities First campaign, identifying the 100 poorest wards in the region.

The administration also runs the Health Inequalities Fund, which moves health spending to areas where it is most needed.

See also:

15 Jan 02 | UK Politics
Child poverty plan 'could fail'
13 Dec 01 | UK Politics
Brown launches poverty coalition
21 May 01 | Health
Children 'breakfast on junk food'
23 Feb 01 | Health
Child poverty 'high in the UK'
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