Dolphin, Tony and Prabhakar, Rajiv
Asset-based welfare and child poverty: next steps for the Welsh Assembly.
Institute for Public Policy Research.
• The Welsh Assembly has made asset-based welfare a part of its child poverty agenda.
• One of its child poverty indicators focuses on the opening of Child Trust Funds (CTFs).
• The Welsh Assembly has also established the Child Trust Fund Cymru and emphasises the provision of CTFs through credit unions.
• The CTF Cymru means that children in Wales qualify for an extra top-up from the Welsh government into their CTFs.
• This strategy is aimed at reducing the chances of poor children becoming poor adults, rather than any immediate easing of rates of child poverty.
• As a result of the fall-out from the recession, this asset-based welfare agenda faces a challenge from the policy community, so it is important to restate its value.
• Two ways in which assets are important are identified here: as a cushion to help people cope with shocks and as a long-term strategy to stop poor children becoming poor adults.
• Nonetheless, the Conservative Party has said that it will restrict CTFs to the poorest one third of families and the Liberal Democrats propose to abolish them completely.
• If CTFs are restricted to the poorest one-third of families at a national level, the Welsh Assembly will have little choice but to follow suit with CTF Cymru.
• If it does not cut the funds allocated to the CTF Cymru programme, the Welsh Assembly could use this opportunity to strengthen its long-term asset-based attack on poverty.
• Specific measures should be designed to increase parental opening of Child Trust Funds, to ensure a high rate of uptake for CTF Cymru and to encourage more parents with low incomes to place additional funds in their children’s CTFs.
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