The Children's Commissioner for Wales doubts 2020 poverty target

Keith Towler says it is unlikely child poverty will be eradicated by 2020

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The Children's Commissioner says it is unlikely child poverty will be eradicated in Wales by a 2020 target.

Keith Towler made the comments on a road trip for a BBC Wales programme examining the issue.

One Anglesey mother tells him she considered killing herself due to constant money worries compounded by problems she has with her teenage sons who suffer from a genetic condition.

The Welsh government said it is still committed to eradicating child poverty.

The 2020 deadline to eradicate child poverty was set by the Westminster and Welsh governments.

One in three children in Wales are estimated as now living in households with below average incomes - around 200,000 in all.

Start Quote

I think that if they continue to say it -eradicating child poverty by 2020 - they will just cheese people off”

End Quote Keith Towler Children's Commissioner for Wales

The Children's Commissioner says he welcomes the Welsh government's aspirations but says he would like more honesty from politicians.

"I think that if they continue to say it - eradicating child poverty by 2020 - they will just cheese people off," he tells the Playing With Poverty programme, to be shown on BBC One Wales on Sunday night.

Mr Towler also questions whether politicians really understand what people living in poverty are going through.

Families visited include a working family struggling to bring up two children, one of them with autism and learning difficulties.

There is also a single mother struggling with debt and child-care expenses.

'Every penny counts'

"I want my son to grow up to be a decent human being. I feel a failure. I don't feel like a good mother," she says.

Rural poverty is also looked at with the children's charity Jigso saying that increasingly their clients are adults struggling to feed themselves in Cardigan.

Keith Towler (right), pictured with TV presenter David Williams Keith Towler, pictured with TV presenter David Williams

Another Cardiganshire family - with three children and another on the way - went from being affluent to poor in the space of a few months as the breadwinner losses his job.

The Children's Commissioner says the current economic difficulties are affecting everyone.

"This is us. These are our communities, these are our people. Every penny counts," Mr Towler says.

The programme also includes an interview with Gwenda Thomas AM, the deputy minister responsible for children.

She says that the Welsh government is still committed to eradicating child poverty by 2020.

"We are still committed to that target of 2020. We are also absolutely committed to ameliorating the impacts of poverty and also doing all that we can to avoid people going into long term poverty.

"We are committed to those three aims," she added.

Playing with Poverty will be shown on BBC1 Wales at 22:25 BST on Sunday 20 May.

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