Plans to provide 5,000 job and training opportunities for households in Wales in which no-one has a job are at the heart of new Welsh Government plans to tackle poverty.
The plans are an updated version of those published by the Welsh Government in June 2012.
- In view of a squeeze on resources for the plan, caused by the UK coalition government's austerity programme, there needs to be a new focus on key targets.
- A key focus will be targeted help for workless households in Wales in which no-one has a paid job. 5,000 job and training opportunities will be made available.
- Another key aim will be to reduce the number of young people aged 16-18 who are not in employment, education or training to 9 per cent by 2017.
- There will be targets to narrow the gap in attainment levels for children age seven eligible for free school meals by 10 per cent by 2017, and to improve the overall attainment levels of pupils eligible for free school meals to GCSE grade C or above in key subjects to 37 per cent by 2017.
- The Communities First programme has been remodelled as a community-focussed programme for tackling poverty. It has 52 'clusters', which between them include all of the 10 per cent most deprived areas in Wales (as defined by the Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation 2011). Each cluster will focus on supporting the most vulnerable people in those areas.
- Key performance indicators will track, among other things, the percentage of people receiving income-related benefits, the percentage of children in households on income-related benefits, and the percentage of people receiving employment-related benefits.
Commenting on the plan, First Minister Carwyn Jones said: 'These are hard times – a flat lining economy, the biggest shake-up to the benefits system in sixty years, public spending cuts and rising living costs. Despite this, sitting back and watching the costs associated with poverty escalate is not an option'.
Source: Taking Forward the Tackling Poverty Action Plan, Welsh Government
Links: Plan | Welsh Government press release | Action for Children press release | New Policy Institute blog post | BBC report (1) | BBC report (2)