Reduced job opportunities and increases in energy and fuel prices alongside rising everyday costs over recent months have put an additional strain on low-income families across Wales, many of whom were already struggling to provide for their children. The global recession has undoubtedly exacerbated existing problems.
In Wales, 32 per cent of children live in low-income households and the Welsh Assembly Government sees this issue as their number one priority. However, End Child Poverty Network Cymru (ECPN) recognises that it cannot act alone and will require both local and the UK Government to play a major part.
Ahead of the UK general election, therefore, ECPN released a Five Point Charter, which identifies action to tackle and reduce levels of child poverty in Wales and sets out the steps that the incoming Government will need to take to address this growing problem.
Set out under five priority areas for action, it calls on the next UK Government to: address income poverty and create fair employment; address the safety net for parents and carers; address the tax system and tackle inequality; address fuel poverty and the energy poverty premium; and to take steps to meet the 2020 duties that are outlined in the Child Poverty Act 2010.
The ECPN is urging all Welsh prospective Members of Parliament to endorse this Charter and for the successful party on 6 May to take forward the key actions, as part of the long-term quest to eradicate child poverty once and for all.
By Sean O'Neill, policy director of Children in Wales, which co-ordinates the End Child Poverty Network Cymru
For more information on the Charter, visit www.childreninwales.org.uk