Chris Lyttle MLA said: “The decision by the DUP and Sinn Fein to vote against a motion calling for the First and deputy First Minister to publish a child poverty action plan shows that they are falling short on this issue.
“The OFMDFM Committee carried out an inquiry into child poverty and published recommendations in 2008. These included a regional action plan to tackle child poverty, affordable childcare, a benefit uptake strategy, early years services and debt advice.
“Yet in May 2011, OFMDFM published an overdue report detailing progress against targets in the 2010 UK Child Poverty Act, which indicated that child poverty levels were increasing.
“Lack of childcare is cited as the biggest barrier to employment for parents and childcare in Northern Ireland is some of the most expensive in the UK, yet families in Northern Ireland have awaited a regional childcare strategy for years and early years investment lags far behind other areas.
“Whilst the global economic downturn has had an unprecedented effect on the local economy and employment, there are measures which this Assembly can take to try and lift our most vulnerable children out of poverty and we need a specific action plan with robust monitoring mechanisms to co-ordinate the Executive response on this issue.”