Keeping kids off the streets. Or not…

FUNDING for out-of-school childcare is funded by the Government in other parts of the UK, but in Northern Ireland, it’s funded through the European Union’s Peace and Reconciliation Fund – a source which is about to dry up. Despite Labour’s so-called commitment to ending child poverty, NI still has high levels of the problem – which are likely to be exacerbated when 40 after-school clubs close.Parents may now have to quit to care for kids, and the knock-on social and educational effects on children are unlikely to be positive. Since ‘What children do after school’ is one of our national obsessions, expect panicked calls for more ASBOs to be issued when evil six-year-olds appear on street corners, loitering with intent, or whatever moral outrage is in vogue at the time.

While Northern Ireland’s style of clientele, cap-in-hand or begging bowl’ politics is gut-wrenchingly embarrassing, perhaps it’s time for Labour to stop discriminating against this part of the UK when it comes to keeping its pledges.

But then Tony Blair was never keen to keep a promise…