Page last updated at 16:25 GMT, Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Northern Ireland Assembly

Ninety-three thousand children in Northern Ireland are living in poverty Junior Minister Jonathan Bell said, on 4 December 2012.

Mr Bell was briefing the Committee for the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM) on child poverty and Delivering Social Change.

He said the current target was to reduce the figure to 44,000 by 2020.

The junior minister added that the current child poverty rate represented 21% of children and young people in Northern Ireland, this was an improvement on the 2009/10 figure of 27%.

Junior Minister Jennifer McCann said there was real concern about the threat of an increase in child poverty.

Mr Bell said it was important to get "early years" provision right as "a child with five good GCSEs can lift themselves out of poverty".

He said it could be 15 years down the line before the results were seen.

The minister was asked about child safety and new technology.

Mr Bell spoke about the dangers of "sexting" where mobile phone images sent to a boyfriend could be "bluetoothed" around many people.

He said parents did not understand the sort of content that could be accessed via a smartphone.

The committee then heard from Claire Keatinge, the Commissioner for Older People.

She noted that 25% of MLAs were over 60, and briefed members on concerns expressed to her by older people.

OFMDFM committee membership


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