Calling time on child poverty

NewsNovember 6th, 2023

The Equality and Social Justice Committee of the Senedd includes Bevan Foundation’s proposals in its recommendations.

The Equality and Social Justice Committee of the Senedd has published the report of its inquiry into child poverty. The inquiry was prompted by the high levels of child poverty in Wales, and concerns about the Welsh Government’s draft strategy to eradicate it. The Bevan Foundation gave written and oral evidence to the Committee, which reflected our response to the Welsh Government

The Bevan Foundation welcomes the Committee’s findings and recommendations, many of which reflect the our views.

The first recommendation is that the Welsh Government should set interim and longer-term and ambitious targets – a call made by the Bevan Foundation in our evidence.  Realistic targets, coupled with plans to meet them, would ensure that the strategy sets out a clear pathway towards eradicating child poverty.

The Committee also recommends that the Welsh Government prioritises:

programmes where there is clear evidence that they are effective at reducing child poverty

This recommendation is consistent with the Bevan Foundation’s view that the Welsh Government should focus on fewer, bigger impact interventions. One of these areas is childcare, with the Committee urging the Welsh Government to fund a seamless and affordable childcare system.  This again reflects one of the Bevan Foundation’s recommendations. 

On a Welsh Benefits System, long advocated by the Bevan Foundation and now being implemented by the Welsh Government, the Committee urges the Minister to clarify timings and report on progress more frequently. 

Last, the Committee recommends that a Minister for Babies, Children and Young People, noting that responsibility is currently split across several Ministerial portfolios.  This is an interesting proposal.  Designating a Minister with responsibility for ending child poverty improves accountability, but, as was seen when there was a Ministerial role to tackle poverty in 2013 – 2016, it is no guarantee that action will be taken.

What is clear is that, with a legislative duty to take steps to eradicate child poverty, the Welsh Government can and should do more.


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