Almost 300,000 people in Ireland live in consistent poverty according to the latest report from the Combat Poverty Agency.

The 2006 annual report also claims that 10% of Irish children are living in poverty, while it states that greater spending on social programmes in the area of health, education and pensions is needed if a target to eliminate poverty by 2016 is to be reached.

Consistent poverty is defined by experts as living on a low income and being deprived of one or more of the basic necessities such as food, clothing or heat.

The Combat Poverty Agency added that flexible and responsive public services are critical to tackling the problem of poverty and social exclusion.