Aberavon AM, David Rees, has raised the issue of child poverty with the First Minister. His comments in the Senedd came after a recent piece of research, by the Campaign to End Child Poverty, revealed that 25% of children in Neath Port Talbot were living in poverty.

David Rees AM said:
“Addressing poverty and inequality among children and young people is crucial to giving them the opportunities they deserve to make the most of their lives. Poverty – absolute or relative – diminishes people. In many cases it can take away your pride and worst of all it can take away your hope. And don’t think for a moment that a child in a poorer household doesn’t absorb what is going on around them. What we need are long-term programmes, such as Communities First, which help communities and families build a viable and sustainable route out of poverty.”

“The context of severe cuts to youth services, high unemployment, increasing child poverty across the UK as well as approximately 30,000 Welsh claimants set to be pushed out of the benefits system altogether there is a very real danger that, over the coming years, our most vulnerable communities will find themselves even more marginalised, isolated and deprived.”

Mr Rees made specific reference to childcare costs as an important factor in helping people combat poverty and get back into work .

David Rees AM said:
“Much of the current dialogue surrounding poverty focuses on ‘getting people back to work’. However, childcare costs can be incredibly restrictive when people are trying to work and, as such, are preventing some people from escaping the poverty trap. ”

David has raised the issue of poverty several times in the Senedd since being elected and acts as the chair of the Cross Party Group on Industrial Communities. The main focus of which is to work towards improving economic and social conditions in industrial communities in today’s Wales.

Tackling poverty is a fundamental component of the Welsh Government’s broader strategy to improve quality of life and extend opportunity to every community in Wales. The Welsh Government’s new Child Poverty Strategy aspires to eradicate child poverty by 2020, an ambitious challenge at a time when public spending is contracting.