Published date: 14 Nov 2023
Lack of movement on the number of children in consistent poverty a serious concern
Today (14.11.2023) the Government published its first cross-Government report on Budget measures aimed to reduce child poverty.
Responding to the report and its findings, Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance said:
“One child in poverty is one too many. While we welcome any reduction in the number of children and young people at risk of poverty in our society, the lack of any significant change to the number of children in consistent poverty (deep poverty) is a serious concern.”
“The report published today on Budget 2024 measures shows what is possible when we invest in children and young people. It was the right decision to focus on child poverty in the budget process and it was welcome to see continued expansion and investment in universal measures that will have a positive impact on the lives of children and young people who know the pain of poverty all too well. But for the over 90,000 children and young people living in a consistent poverty, the benefits of these universal measures cannot be enjoyed without effective, targeted investment designed to break the cycle of poverty that robs them of their childhood. The targeted measures in this year’s budget were simply not sufficient.”
“We cannot overlook the fact that our most recent poverty statistics revealed a rise in child poverty across the board. In our society, it is children that have the highest rate of consistent poverty compared to all other age cohorts. Government had the opportunity in Budget 2024 to make the decision to address this and increase targeted measures to reach those living in consistent poverty, but they failed to do so. The social welfare payment for children (the ‘QCI’) was increased by just €4 a week, far below what was needed to keep pace with increasing financial pressures on these families.”
“When we consider the budget from the perspective of the children, young people and families who wake up every day and worry about where the next meal is coming from, what room to turn the heating on, how they will afford the next school trip, a lot of these concerns remain unanswered. One parent families continue to be significantly more at risk of poverty than their peers but the lifeline of social welfare supports so many rely on were only marginally increased. There were no supports delivered for children and families in homelessness despite the number being at an all-time high.”
“This year we saw a repeat of the interim measures we saw during the height of the cost-of-living crisis. However, these measures will only ever have transient impact as they are not guaranteed to be delivered again next year. Without a holistic approach and a budget that delivers both the universal measures we all benefit from and, the targeted measures to level the playing field for children entrenched in poverty, we are concerned that we will always be falling behind a rising child poverty figure.”
“With the Child Poverty and Wellbeing Unit now fully operational, we hope to see it play a much bigger role in the early stages of the budget process to ensure that every Department acknowledges and acts on their responsibility to deliver measures that will make a meaningful change to the lives of children and young people in the depths of poverty. Child poverty is not inevitable, but a consequence of a political and policy decisions. Government needs to decide to prioritise children, young people and families deepest in poverty and to turn the tide, we need to be far more ambitious than Budget 2024,” concluded Tanya Ward.
For media queries, contact Emma Archbold: 087 9971410 / [email protected]
Notes to Editors:
- Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance, is available for interview.
- The Breaking the Cycle: New Measures in Budget 2024 to Reduce Child Poverty and Promote Well-being report is available here.
About the Children’s Rights Alliance:
Founded in 1995, the Children’s Rights Alliance unites 150 members working together to make Ireland one of the best places in the world to be a child. Further information is available at: www.childrensrights.ie or on Twitter, @ChildRightsIRL #EndChildPoverty