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Section highlightHouses into homes This report details findings to emerge from the evaluation during the first six months of delivery (April to September 2012).
Written Statement - Update on tobacco policy »Standardised packaging of tobacco products and Sub Committees on The Smoke-free Premises etc. (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2012.Learn more »
National Library base for US Radio Travel programme
On Saturday 25 May, The National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth will be host to US radio star, Peter Greenberg.
- Industry and government plan for a healthy future for farming in Wales
- Historic garden is a breakfast TV star
- National Library base for US Radio Travel programme
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Section highlightAccess to information
The Welsh Government has followed the principles of openness in government for many years. Find out how you can make a freedom of information request or see requests that have already been made.
Sky lanterns: environmental and risk assessment »To establish an evidence base to help any future policy decisions on sky lanterns and helium balloons.Learn more »
- Future management of private water supply pipes
- Amendments to the Motor Vehicle (Competitions and Trials) Regulations 1969 and the Motor Vehicles (Off Road Events) Regulations 1995
- Higher Education (Wales) Bill: Technical consultation
- Consultation - Local Authorities (Standing Orders) (Wales) Regulations 2006 (Amendment) Regulations 2013
- Draft action plan for pollinators
Featured consultation »Implementing the Domestic Fire Safety (Wales) Measure 2011
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Section highlightFurther and Higher Education (Governance and Information) (Wales) Bill 2013
Removes a number of technical restrictions and controls on colleges without changing the principal powers of colleges to provide further, higher and secondary education.
Legislative programme 2012 - 2013 »
Addressing the Assembly in the Senedd today, the First Minister, Carwyn Jones, detailed the eight bills in the Welsh Government’s 5-year Legislative Programme that will be brought forward during the second year of the Welsh Assembly.Learn more »
Section highlightCommunity Infrastructure Levy
Local authorities can charge a Community Infrastructure Levy on new developments to support the infrastructure needed.
2nd Supplementary Budget 2012-13 »
Proposes a number of changes to the 1st Supplementary Budget for 2012-13, which was published on 26 June 2012.Learn more »
Written - Child Poverty Expert Group
I would like to inform Members that I have confirmed the appointments to the Child Poverty Expert Group. This is the fulfilment of the commitment made in ‘One Wales’ to establish a group of experts in the field of child poverty to provide the Assembly Government with advice and guidance as we strive to meet our challenging child poverty targets.
I am delighted that Huw Lewis AM, whose experience in dealing with child poverty issues is well known, has agreed to chair this important group. In accordance with the Assembly Government’s public appointments process I am very pleased to confirm the appointment of the five remaining members of the Group. They are all respected experts in social policy with an impressive grasp of the issues associated with child poverty in Wales and in the wider UK. The Group will comprise:
- Huw Lewis AM, Chair;
- Caroline Kelham, Head of the DWP/DCSF Child Poverty Unit (ex-officio member).
- Ms Anne Crowley, Assistant Director of Policy and Research, Save the Children (Wales);
- Dr Samantha Clutton, Research and Policy Officer, Barnardo’s Cymru;
- Professor David Gordon, Professor of Social Justice, Bristol University;
- Dr Peter Kenway, Director , New Policy Institute;
Secretariat support for the Group will be provided by officials in my Department and a number of Assembly Government officials will be involved in its work.
Primarily, the Group has been established to advise me on the further and wider policy requirements necessary to meet the milestones and targets set out in the October 2006 document, ‘Eradicating Child Poverty in Wales – Measuring Success’. Given the importance the Assembly Government places on tackling child poverty and promoting child wellbeing, monitoring the progress being made in Wales is and will continue to be essential. Therefore, in addition, the Group has also been asked to advise on the development of a new Child Well Being Monitor for Wales.
The Monitor, which will be produced in September 2008, will track the quality of life of children and young people in Wales across a range of dimensions, including child poverty. The Monitor will focus on the seven core domains that underpin the Children and Young People’s Plans. These core domains are: early years; education and learning opportunities; health, freedom from abuse and victimisation; access to play, leisure, sporting and cultural activities; respect; having a safe home and community that supports emotional wellbeing; and freedom from child poverty. This Monitor will be the vehicle by which we in Wales measure our progress in improving the life chances of children in Wales.
Evidence to date shows that we have made good progress in reducing child poverty since the start of devolution. Poverty rates for children in Wales have come down to below the GB average for the first time. I know, however, that there is no room for complacency with 28% of children in Wales still living in households with incomes below 60 per cent of the median. We also know that there has been less progress on the downward trend very recently.
Therefore, my Cabinet colleagues and I are fully aware of the need to use all the policy levers at our disposal and continue to build on the impetus that has been developed in Wales. We already have in place a range of policies and programmes across the Assembly Government aimed at tackling child poverty and associated disadvantage. As well, investment in the early years will continue to be a strong feature of this third Assembly Government. However, we need to be sure that these policies are working and that they are proofed to deliver the further improvements necessary. I very much hope and expect that the new Expert Group will provide the Assembly Government with invaluable advice on how we can make further progress as we begin to tackle poverty amongst our hardest to reach families and in our most deprived communities.
We know that tackling child poverty in all its forms is very complex and the non devolved nature of many of the issues requires strong partnership working with the UK Government.
At the UK level the recent Budget announced a number of measures that the UK Government state will make significant further progress towards the target of halving child poverty by 2010. The first child rate of Child Benefit will be increased to £20 and child benefit will be disregarded in the calculation of housing and council tax benefit. It also highlighted that workless families are at a particularly high risk of poverty. It will strengthen practical and financial support for families that cannot work as well as looking at measures to make work pay for workless families were this is a realistic option. It will also give more support for working families.
Through all the measures contained in the Budget the UK Government is investing an additional £950million in tackling child poverty by 2010/11. Together with the reforms announced in the UK Budget 2007 and the 2007 Pre-Budget Report and CSR the UK Government maintain that over 500,000 children will be lifted out of poverty. As part of this latest Budget announcement the UK Government state that it will invest £125million over the next three years (£10m in 2008/09; £35m in 2009/10 and £80m in 2010/11) across the UK to help reach the 2020 child poverty target.
“Ending Child Poverty: Everybody’s Business”, published alongside the UK Budget, sets out the UK Government’s approach to child poverty based around four key principles:
- increasing employment and raising incomes, continuing to support lone parents into work and improving access to childcare;
- improving the financial and material support for families, continuing to ensure that work incentives are enhanced, additional support is offered to those in need it most and those eligible take-up their entitlements;
- tackling deprivation in communities, continuing to work with local and regional partners to tackle child poverty; and
- improving poor children’s life chances, continuing to work with parents to raise aspiration and narrowing the attainment gap.
It will be essential to ensure that the Assembly Government, along with the other devolved administrations, are fully involved in investment of the £125 million which is to be put into preparatory work over the next three years to ensure that future child poverty policies are responsive to Welsh circumstances. I understand that much of the pilot work outlined in “Ending Child Poverty: Everybody’s Business” and local authority and childcare grants will be England only but that the DWP pilots will be UK wide. My officials will take the opportunity to raise these issues at the next meeting of the newly established Four Nations Forum on Child Poverty to be held in May liaising with colleagues across the Assembly Government as necessary on the policy implications for Wales.
The Assembly Government has acknowledged the need to investigate the specific nature and circumstances of children living in the deepest poverty through the commissioning of a Save the Children/ Bevan led research project into the issue in Wales. Their report was published on 11 March. Assembly Government Ministers and officials are now considering its findings carefully in the wider context of the development of new policies to tackle the scourge of child poverty in Wales.
I remain particularly concerned about those children hardest to reach and living in the most persistent and severe poverty and I am clear that we must do more to develop new policy solutions to improve their circumstances and those of their families. I hope that the new Child Poverty Expert Group will be able to advise further on this issue, amongst others.
Initially the Expert Group will have a three-year life span and is expected to meet three times a year. Remuneration will be commensurate with Assembly Government public appointments policy. I have agreed that where the Group require additional expert knowledge and input in fulfilling their terms of reference, they may reserve the right to invite experts to provide additional guidance. However, persons invited will not be deemed as panel members.
The first meeting of the Child Poverty Expert Group will be held on 7 May. I would like to take this opportunity to convey my appreciation to the members that have agreed to participate in its work. I look forward to a fruitful dialogue with the Group as it takes forward its deliberations over the next few years as we all strive to ensure further progress in the fight against child poverty.